IN a joint presentation, Dickon White, Jockey Club Regional Director for Aintree Racecourse and North West, and Grant Rowley, The Jockey Club’s Communications Head, guided delegates through the positive experiences of Aintree Racecourse, the RCA Showcase Winners 2022, underlining yet again the importance of community and sustainability. Indeed, the community-based projects are the backbone of Aintree’s current growth.

Rowley provided details of the Aintree Community Programme, harnessing the affection and history of the Grand National to support people in the local community.

The award-winning programme is underpinned by three key themes of Health and Wellbeing, Community Engagement, and Education and Enterprise and works with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Everton FC in the Community, Barrie Wells Trust Box4Kids, Sunflowers Cancer Charity, Liverpool FC Foundation, Park Palace Ponies, the Peter O’Sullevan Trust, among others.

“Everton FC has the best community programme in sport and we are proud to be able to work with them,” Rowley said.

“Aintree hosts the Trevor Hemmings Learn to Ride Summer School and between 800-900 children come into Aintree Racecourse to ride during the summer months when we have no racing.”

In addition, Aintree also partners with Liverpool John Moores, working with several departments to create inspiring Grand National-related projects for students.

Aintree has also been the Racing Together Beacon Racecourse and due to its success has received further funding from The Racing Foundation. “Working with Racing to School, Maricourt School and nearby Primary Schools has been a real highlight and the programme continues to thrive.

“It has educated and hopefully inspired several thousand young people in our community through horse racing and the Grand National in recent years.”

New and fresh

With the mantra of always providing something new and fresh, Rowley revealed: “The Red Rum 50 Project this year capitalises on the popularity of the three-time Grand National winner and the Project’s activity within Liverpool and Aintree will be ongoing for the next five years.”

He spoke enthusiastically, too, of the Rose Paterson Community Sportswoman Award and regretted the lack of time to list many of the other valuable projects Aintree was involved in.

The role of the Aintree Ambassadors, Rachael Blackmore, Ruby Walsh and world champion boxer Natasha Jonas is also valuable both in engagement with the community and in promoting Aintree, through the media.

“The Ambassadors’ activity is based around community, media content and events. Natasha Jonas will once again join the panel for the eighth Grand Women’s Summit on Ladies Day, on the Friday morning of the Grand National meeting.”

The Summit looks at issues in women’s sport and attracts around 130 paying guests.

Dickon White had the idea for the highly successful NHS Day on the opening day of the 2022 Grand National meeting, donating 10,000 tickets to NHS workers and social care sector in Liverpool. Workers who had to enter their work email address and could claim up to two complimentary tickets.

“Our close relationship with health centres through the Community Programme bolstered the uptake and tickets went within 12 hours. The day proved to be a great celebration of their work, the media really got behind it.”