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‘Wonderful reflection of unwavering support’: charity hits £500k Covid appeal target

A charity has thanked the “overwhelming generosity” of donors after hitting its £500,000 Covid-19 Emergency Appeal target.

Racing Welfare, which supports the industry’s workforce in times of need, launched its appeal in the spring to plug the impending funding gap resulting from the cancellation of in-person fundraising events owing to the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the charity said it is “testament to the generosity” of the industry that the target was reached before the end of the year.

“I can honestly say that we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the racing community,” said chief executive Dawn Goodfellow.

“The news that we have hit our target is a great boost as we head towards the end of 2020, and a wonderful reflection of the unwavering support we have received this year.

“I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has donated during what has been a tough time for so many.

“I very much hope everyone in the industry is able to enjoy the festive period and remind anyone who needs support that Racing Welfare remains available 24/7 throughout this time.”

The charity is there to help anyone who works in the industry, including stable and stud staff, racecourse workers, the point-to-point world, plus those who work in allied industries such as the racing media.

Its support includes a 24/7 helpline, occupational help, financial grants for those facing hardship — including a specific Covid fund — housing support and more.

This year, one of the charity’s major focuses has been to find ways of bringing the community together during the pandemic as part of its work to combat loneliness and isolation.

The fundraising announcement came in the same week that the charity sent out nearly 600 Christmas boxes to retired racing staff, who would normally be meeting for Christmas lunches across the country. Projects such as check-in calls to people on their own and the Facebook group Racing Conversation have also been a part of the charity’s drive to combat loneliness.

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“Having worked at racecourses in a sociable, customer-facing role for more than 30 years, it was a big change to suddenly have to self-isolate on my own,” said Fran Marshall, a member of the Racing Conversation group.

“Racing Welfare’s weekly Racing Conversation Q&As have helped me to feel that sense of community and to connect with others, albeit from behind a screen. The hosts are entertaining, informative and give insight right across the industry, I look forward to tuning in every Thursday.”

The Racing Welfare spokesman added the charity’s virtual events played a major role in reaching the targets and “every penny contributed” has helped the organisation adapt and continue to serve racing’s workforce.

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