The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is increasing its support for training and education programs in racing.
One of the main beneficiaries of the increase is the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust (formerly the British Horseracing Training Board), who have been awarded a grant of £591,735 this year.
The aim of the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust (BHEST) is to open racing to a new, young audience by encouraging informative educational activity through the medium of horseracing.
Jill Lovell, of BHEST, explains: “Many of the children that we deal with are from inner city areas. They have never been to a racecourse, and it is incredible to see the enthusiasm and alertness of these young minds in a completely alternative educational environment.”
The education program involves 8,000 schoolchildren, mainly aged 7-14. The scheme is now entering its fifth year, and has enjoyed outstanding success since its inception in 2000.
Libby Archer of the HBLB is enthusiastic about the development of the program. She told HHO: ”It was very successful very quickly. Teachers all over the country were asking to join in the scheme. It has proved a highly creative and lively way to teach some aspects of the national curriculum, and we have had hugely enthusiastic feedback from schools and racing alike.”
The increase in funding from the HBLB will also benefit the recruitment and training of stable staff. The British Racing School and the Northern Racing College will continue to provide 237 training places in the year, and increased funding will provide enhanced riding and stable management skills needed for successful employment in racing yards.
Funding will also enable a pilot scheme for a Scottish Racing Academy to get off the ground. The scheme is being set up in partnership by the Northern Racing College, Oatridge Agricultural College (Edinburgh) and East Lothian Council. HBLB funding will ensure that qualifications are consistent with those from their southern counterparts, and are recognised as such throughout the racing industry.
Levy Board chairman Robert Hughes says: “Through the substantial increase in this budget, the Levy Board continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to training and education in racing. We are delighted that the education programme, which goes from strength to strength, is such a force for good for racing as well as having a real impact on education of school children nationally.”