A pioneering initiative aimed at encouraging inner city teens to seek careers within horseracing took centre stage at Lingfield Park today as a group of teenagers were given a behind-the-scenes look at the industry.
The five young people, from Lambeth and Southwark boroughs in south London, spent their first day at a racecourse as part of the nationwide Take The Reins project, to mark National Careers Week.
The nationwide campaign is centred around Lingfield Park in the south and Richard Fahey Racing in the north. It is championed by sports charity Active Communities Network (ACN) and Flying Futures with the backing of the British Horseracing Authority’s Racing Together and Careers in Racing.
The visitors, who are all part of a community programme run by ACN, all declared the day a huge success and vowed to come back to enjoy a full day’s racing. They spent time with the Estate Manager, Jon Harris, Clerk of the Course, George Hill and officials from the BHA. Jockey Rossa Ryan – the same age as the 18-year-old’s visiting – was happy to talk them through life as a jockey and the arduous demands of keeping your weight down.
They were followed around for the day by Sky Sports Racing who will be running a feature on the programme and given their five minutes of fame in front of the camera with an interview for Sky Sports News by Hayley Moore.
Deborah Hay, Head of Partnerships at Lingfield Park, said the day was a huge success: ‘We are hoping that this group of people will stay in touch and maybe even come back to work for us on a casual basis as they are relatively close to the racecourse. We are talking to ACN about identifying young people for work placements here and all of those who visited today would be suitable.
‘This is all about highlighting how many opportunities there are in our industry, to a section of the community who wouldn’t normally think about horseracing. This is so much more than just a nice day out.’