As the nation’s fuel bills soar by unprecedented levels, one member of racing’s workforce tells how Racing Welfare’s financial grants helped to relieve the pressure brought on by the rising cost of living.
Single mother Gemma Snook has worked in racing for more than 20 years, working as a rider and groom, racing secretary and now in an administrative role. Despite temporarily falling out of love with the sport and opting to run a Lambourn pub for a period she says: “Working in racing is addictive. It is not a job, it is a lifestyle, and eventually it pulls you back! I’ve been in Newmarket for twelve years now and am raising my seven-year-old son here.”
Gemma received financial support from Racing Welfare in 2021 through the targeted grants programme: “I’ve had the Return to School grants over the last two years, so when I saw the Fuel Grant advertised on social media I contacted my local Welfare Officer to find out about that too – I thought, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
“In my former role as a racing secretary, I was in regular contact with my local welfare manager, Aimee, to support the young stable staff at the yard. As well as accessing the support services for myself, I often signpost the staff on the yard to Racing Welfare, too. When I asked Aimee about the grant she gave me all the information I needed to be able to apply right away. As I’d already received a couple of grants previously, the process was pretty straightforward.”
Gemma’s application for the £300 grant was successful and went some way in reducing the pressure brought on by soaring fuel costs. She says: “The grant helped to relieve that immediate pressure, but I know the struggle will continue along with the ongoing cost of living crisis. I’ve still got an outstanding fuel bill even after the £300 was used to pay some of it off. The grant was a great help, and it has certainly lifted some of the weight from my shoulders, but it’s a real cost of living crisis now.”
Gemma anticipates needing to come back to Racing Welfare as the cost of living continues to rise: “I’m a single mum and the price of life has gone up. It’s not difficult to picture myself needing financial support from Racing Welfare again in the future. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending anyone working in racing who is facing financial difficulty to speak to their local Welfare Officer about the help that is available.”
Find out more about the financial support that is available here, or call Racing’s Support Line on 0800 6300 443.
Photo credit: Jayne Odell Photography