Jen Gates is Racing Welfare’s volunteer coordinator. She works closely with our welfare and fundraising teams to ensure we have enough resources to provide our services and events, which are crucial to supporting racing’s workforce and retired staff.
Jen’s role involves the recruitment and retention of volunteers and providing communications to keep them engaged and informed. Jen said: “I run the volunteer programme and help to ensure that we’re offering our volunteers as much as they’re offering us. Volunteers are so vital to what we do, so it’s a key activity to celebrate their contribution during volunteer’s week, and also to offer them free training, such as safeguarding, Mental Health first aid courses so that their volunteering experience also helps to give them personal and professional development opportunities.”
On a daily basis, Jen will be responding to any new applications, conducting volunteer interviews and phone calls and giving them background about the beneficiaries they will be supporting for check in and chat calls. She’ll also be informing volunteers of forthcoming events and opportunities which they might like to get involved with. “Our volunteers really help to support our work, providing a range of skills and resources which help to free up time for welfare officers so they can directly support beneficiaries, while also providing people-power at fundraising events which couldn’t happen without them.”
“I just love speaking to people from all walks of life, who share the love for the industry and want to give something back. It’s great hearing the stories of how people have got to this point in their life. Some have left the industry and want to come back in some capacity, some are owners and others are just real racing enthusiasts who have not worked in racing but watch from home every day. The common factor is that they all have a shared interest of supporting people who work in racing.”
Jen and Racing Welfare also practice what they preach, recently getting involved in an initiative for the Jockey Club to help bridge the gap with the local community in Newmarket. “We recently put a team together to go out and help with the clearance of the orchard community space which once was thriving and has been neglected in previous years. This was resourced by staff from Racing Welfare, The Jockey Club and The National Stud.”
The impact of Jen’s role has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, she received the Jockey Club Participation and Inclusion award for her efforts and also received a nomination for the 2022 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards in the Community category. Jen said: