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Fran’s Story – welfare team provide support through depression

Simply listening to someone when they need it most has the power to change lives. Fran Marshall, who works as an Owners’ and Trainers’ Liaison at Musselburgh Racecourse has been on furlough for over a year since COVID-19 struck. Fran has found the most powerful form of support from Racing Welfare is knowing the welfare team are there to listen. She says:

“I’ve known about Racing Welfare for a very long time, since its inception. It never occurred to me that they would help me as I work at racecourses not in yards or at a stud.  I first received physical support through Racing Welfare when I had a knee replacement two years ago.

“I’ve also talked a lot to the Racing Welfare team, I do have depression as well so I’ve talked to my local welfare officer and it has been ongoing support. Things are tough. I had cancer about five years ago and it has been a long battle back to be quite honest.

“Through COVID I have been furloughed so talking on a regular basis has been helpful.”

Fran lives in a rural area which has compounded feelings of isolation through the pandemic and she has been shielding on and off since March 2020. The loss of freedom and the loss of community feel on a racecourse is what Fran has found most difficult:

“I do live alone and live in a fantastic place but what I do find difficult is being unable to hop in the car and go off to do something. It was the worst thing ever when I couldn’t meet my friends or do anything.

“Having worked at racecourses for 34 years, I miss my friends, the camaraderie of actually being on a racecourse. I look after the owners and trainers so it’s very much a face-to-face job at Musselburgh. I miss all the doctors and all the vets at the course too.”

Fran has received support from the welfare team and tunes in to Racing Conversation on Facebook when she can:

“Calls from the welfare officers have been good and getting the news in racing – it all helps. I’m a glass half full person, it has been a comfort to chat to them every two weeks. It helps to just know that there’s someone there to listen and for me to say ‘oh life’s not that great at the moment’.

“It’s been fantastic, it has been very helpful. I get on with the welfare officers very well, we are on similar planets I think! Just knowing they are there when I hit rock bottom and I can pick up the phone is so helpful.

“In racing, I can see that having the welfare team there to talk to who have been there, done that and got the t shirt, it’s a huge support I think. I also tune in to Racing Conversation on Facebook, I always have a thousand questions so I like to get involved. I would one hundred percent recommended Racing Welfare to anyone”.

If you would like to sign up to our check-in and chat service you can find more information here.

If you need support for mental or physical health issues, do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 6300 443.