Racing Welfare’s 24-hour helpline for people in the racing industry has been named the New Helpline of the Year at an awards ceremony in London.

The charity was recognised at their British Telecom sponsored Helplines Association Awards at the BT Tower on Monday (8 February).

Racing Welfare helps and supports people who work, or have worked, in the racing industry in Britain.

Nic Coward, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, commented: “This award is thoroughly deserved recognition for the team at Racing Welfare and testament to how British racing is working together to provide the support and assistance that those in the sport deserve and need. They should be very proud of this achievement.”

The helpline, which was set up in December 2008, is manned by nine welfare officers and has provided support for more than 200 callers.

Racing Welfare’s head of welfare, Terri Griffiths said: “Working with race horses is a 24/7 job, therefore it is only right that we, as the industry’s people charity, are here for them 365 days a year too.

“I know we’ve made a huge impact on the communities we serve, but due to the confidential nature of our work, the vital service we provide is frequently below the radar for many racing industry people. To be acknowledged in this way is fantastic for the welfare team and the charity as a whole. We are truly delighted.”

The helpline mainly helps individuals but was instrumental in enabling the charity to provide immediate practical support to those affected by the fire in Malton, North Yorkshire, last September, in which apprentice jockeys Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson died.

“We receive calls that may affect groups of people such as the tragedy in Malton, but most of our calls provide support to individuals, including potential suicides and self harm incidents,” added Terri.

“One instance that springs to mind is of a series of calls we received late at night from a retired, widower stable lad; he felt scared, lonely and isolated. We provided a friendly, supportive, non-judgmental voice on the other end of a telephone line; just talking through his fears till dawn made all of the difference to him.”

Racing Welfare 24/7 can be reached on free on tel: 0800 6300443