23rd March, 2017

One of the many activities that make up the first year of the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project, delivered by… More

23rd March, 2017

One of the many activities that make up the first year of the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project, delivered by… More

20th March, 2017

Racing to School is thrilled to announce that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will be meeting with Newmarket Academy pupils… More

17th February, 2017

Racing to School's half-term activity included a Riders' Programme actitivy day at Towecester racecourse for Pony Club members. 
More

6th January, 2017

Entries open today for the 25th and last Martin Wills Writing Awards; they close on 28 February 2017.
More

2nd December, 2016

The education and community engagement charity Racing to School has signed up to The Giving Machine, a simple online charity… More

Guidance from the wings to help charities flourish

11th November, 2016

To celebrate Trustees Week, which runs from November 7 to November 13, the Racing Post spoke to several of racing's charity custodians to find out what the job involves, and the highs and lows of the role. Racing to School Trustee Morag Gray is featured along with four other Racing focused charities.

Morag Gray, trustee of Racing to School

When did you join the Racing to School board of trustees?

I've been a trustee of the charity (formerly known as BHEST) since September 2009. It is great to be involved with an organisation that does such inspiring work, and to hopefully give something back. I am also proud to be a Trustee of Racing Welfare.

What does the role involve?

We normally have four formal trustee meetings each year but there is plenty of ongoing contact between the charity's small team and the trustees. We all make a point of seeing the work at first-hand, at racecourses and elsewhere.

The Racing to School board has a wide range of skills and experience, which can support the chief executive and team as required. Trustees get involved in strategic decisions and areas such as fundraising, events and communications. We have just expanded our remit and appointed a new chief executive, John Blake. The trustees were very involved in that process.

It is also essential we keep up to speed with regulations and best practice in the charity sector. We are very well supported by The Racing Foundation and our own team in this regard.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your role?

Fundraising is always challenging, although we have some wonderful supporters, in particular the Levy Board and The Racing Foundation. We have made some real progress in improving our profile since we changed the charity's name, but this is a relentless process within a multi-faceted and busy industry. We have a great story to tell.

The most rewarding aspect is seeing young people benefit from the numeracy, literacy and other programmes delivered by our education officers, led by Ollie McPhail and Carrie Ford. The feedback from the pupils and teachers is wonderful and confirms the positive impact we are here to deliver for our beneficiaries - over 11,000 this year.

Racing is fortunate to have a number of fantastic charities that support our own equine and human participants and workforce. Racing to School is different in that it works in partnership with the industry and others to invest in unique programmes to enhance young people's education. We also work to support career choices and employability skills. We are so grateful to all the racecourses, many trainers and stud owners who not only allow us to use their facilities but so often get involved themselves with activities to help our beneficiaries within what becomes a fast-moving and dynamic classroom.

Why do charities need a board of trustees?

It is important that we are accountable to the Charity Commission and that we stick to our agreed charitable objectives. As trustees we must ensure resources are managed diligently and that we act in the best interest of the charity. The trustees collectively ensure scrutiny and independence.

It is also important that my colleagues and I are representatives of the charity within our day-to-day activities, using our experience and networks to make a positive contribution in some way.

What does 2017 hold for Racing to School?

Racing to School has just taken on responsibility to lead the community engagement work of the Racing Together Partnership - the initiative that brings together and promotes the considerable work being done by racing's charities and commercial organisations to support its communities through education, local life and welfare. Racing Together encapsulates a real collective effort by a wide cross-section of racing to give back something valuable to its communities.

We also aim to expand the reach of our education programmes and build on the new programmes introduced this year - the Riders' and Work Programmes. We were delighted to launch the first of a five-year project with Godolphin and the Newmarket Academy and in seeing the success of a similar Beacon project centred on Aintree and its local schools.

To see the full article please visit: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd