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news #GoRacingGreen initiative makes RoR a chosen charity

11th February 2019
Photo courtesy of Ed Whitaker
  • Initiative raises awareness of mental health issues
  • And encourages people to go racing as part of a community

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is delighted to be one of two chosen charities to benefit from the #GoRacingGreen initiative.

Set up by Debbie Matthews, #GoRacingGreen aims to increase awareness of mental health issues and encourage those suffering with invisible conditions to go racing. The plan is to work with racecourses around the country to make them more accessible for such individuals and to create a whole #GoRacingGreen community.

In January, Debbie put aside her own mental health anxieties to go and watch her favourite racehorse Altior run at Ascot. Until then she had only ever watched him from the comfort of her living room.

Proud of her achievement in going to see him in the flesh on a big raceday, she posted on social media under the banner @novicefilly. The tweet was spotted by a Racing Post reporter and it was subsequently arranged for her to meet Altior face to face at trainer Nicky Henderson’s Lambourn yard.

Out of that experience and from the platform created by the interest in her story, the #GoRacingGreen initiative was born. From the newly launched website people can buy #GoRacingGreen merchandise, such as a bobble hat and a beanie hat, as a way of both supporting and identifying themselves with the initiative.

Debbie, who by day is a tourism consultant and accessible tourism officer, has chosen two charities from which the proceeds of merchandise sales will go to, The Samaritans and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR).

She says: “The aim of the hat, or green ribbon, is that it signifies you support #GoRacingGreen and gets people talking again. It may be that you are on your own, it may be that you are anxious, or it may be because you are happy for people to come and say hello to you, or sit with you.

“Part of what my profession involves is working in accessible and dementia tourism, and making places more accessible not just for those with physical disabilities, but those with invisible disabilities too. How great I always thought if that could transfer across the racing industry? If it meant people like me didn’t hide behind the TV, but actually got out and went racing.”

Philippa Gilmore, Director of Operations for RoR, said: “#GoRacingGreen is a great initiative and we are delighted to be a beneficiary. At RoR we are very aware of the positive power horses have on mental health, whether it be seeing the results produced by thoroughbreds doing equine assisted therapy or just the innate connection between horse and rider. We will be giving #GoRacingGreen whatever support we can.”

Debbie continued: “Retraining of Racehorses have been extremely helpful and I wanted to support them as they are the charity responsible for the welfare of retired racehorses, where they give racehorses a second career and a second chance. They also work closely with other great charities such as World Horse Welfare.”

All profit from merchandise sales will be shared between The Samaritans and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). If you are making a donation then 100% of the amount gets split between the charities. To buy #GoRacingGreen merchandise or to make a donation:

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