Press Release from Go Racing In Yorkshire: Yorkshire Beacon Programme Exceeds Expectations in Pilot Year

25th September 2023

Yorkshire Beacon Programme Exceeds Expectations In Pilot Year

The pilot year of the Yorkshire Beacon Programme has engaged nearly 4,000 people through its activities. Activity included racecourse-led events, such as Wetherby working with ‘Wetherby in Support of the Elderly’; Pontefract hosting local ‘Into The Sky Theatre Group’ for young adults with disabilities; Racing to School education days and much more. All nine Yorkshire racecourses installed Sunflower benches to provide a calm and quiet space for anyone who needs it during a raceday.

The vision of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Community Beacon, supported by Racing Together, is to strengthen the connections between a varied and world-class horseracing region and its communities for mutual long-term benefit.

This programme was introduced through a year-long pilot scheme in March 2022 and aligned with racing’s recovery from COVID-19 as the sport reconnected with the public, partner organisations and investors. The video round up below showcases just some of this activity across the region:

Key performance indicators below were created at the outset of the Yorkshire Beacon programme pilot year to allow stakeholders to measure and benchmark activity over multiple years and identify areas for improvement. Initial targets included hosting 10 events and engaging 300 people across  areas of Education and Employability, Health and Wellbeing and Community Engagement.

Charlotte Russell, Go Racing In Yorkshire General Manager, said: “Working on the Yorkshire Beacon through the pilot year has opened doors between racecourses and organisations in the local community, fostering relationships that are continuing to blossom. Being able to connect with a variety of groups in different ways, using horseracing as the vehicle to start a conversation has led to multiple partnerships and I look forward to continuing this work into the future.”

Wetherby in Support of the Elderly activities coordinator, Debbie Todd said of their visit to Wetherby: “It’s great to be able to offer our WiSE friends a trip to the races with Wetherby racecourse being right on our doorstep. Preventing social isolation has always been at the top of our agenda, particularly since the pandemic. As restrictions have eased, our main objective has been to offer exciting and interesting activities to our friends. When Wetherby Racecourse approached us to offer WiSE a day at the races, we knew this was something that fitted in with our plan. Our WiSE friends, many who live on the doorstep, have never visited the racecourse and it’s great to build community relations with local businesses.”


John Blake, CEO of Racing Together and Racing to School, added: “We are proud to support this far-reaching pilot Beacon programme and to continue to showcase and celebrate the collective power of Yorkshire Racing’s activity. The Yorkshire racecourses and racing organisations always go above and beyond to support racing’s national day of employee volunteering each year, Racing Together Community Day.”

The Yorkshire Beacon Programme has been designed to grow organically in support of individual community needs surrounding Yorkshire’s racing assets, and supported by Go Racing In Yorkshire regional initiatives. This has been a successful approach and is important for the continued growth of the programme. Areas for improvement include connecting Yorkshire racing assets more closely, continuing to communicate ongoing work internally and externally, and to seek out opportunities to work with new and existing community groups and programmes to link them with horseracing.

More information

Yorkshire Beacon Programme – Racing Together

Yorkshire Beacon | Go Racing | Yorkshire Horse Racing

About Racing Together:

Racing Together is British racing’s community engagement activity and is an open partnership of charities and organisations that work across the sport to benefit others. The initiative is led by the education charity Racing to School and guided by a subcommittee.

Racing Together coordinates, supports, represents and measures British racing’s community engagement and CSR activity. Its vision is for British racing to be known as a ‘force for good’ by helping the communities in which the sport operates. It achieves this by providing practical support and resources; facilitating ideas, collaboration and progress; working on specific nationwide initiatives; hosting inspiring masterclasses and coordinating Racing Together Community Day, while promoting and sharing best examples of community engagement on an ongoing basis. Racing Together is grateful to the HBLB for its annual funding award.

Contact: Lucy Gurney, Community Engagement Manager, Racing Together

About Go Racing In Yorkshire

Go Racing In Yorkshire is the central marketing organisation for Yorkshire’s nine racecourses.  It is funded by the racecourses and the sale of the annual season ticket which allows admission to all of Yorkshire’s race meetings.

Contact: Charlotte Russell, or 07305 932411.