Having known about Racing Welfare for many years, I’m excited and honoured to be an Ambassador for this great charity. During the COVID 19 pandemic, Racing Welfare has been at the forefront of supporting the racing industry and have approached the situation with an energy and optimism that has been inspiring and ultimately hugely beneficial for so many people. Their fundraising activities, such as the Furlong Factor and The Great Racing Welfare Auction have done wonders for financial support but also excelled at bringing the industry together. I loved working with Racing Welfare then and am even more excited to work with them again now in a different capacity.
As someone who has followed horse racing since a young age, combining this love with my passion for wine, food and hospitality has allowed my knowledge of the diversity of the racing industry to grow. I was inspired by Racing Welfare’s work during this year to talk with Nick Luck (Luck on Sunday) about the broad definition of the hospitality industry and the implications of the pandemic on a variety of people. There is of course a focus on big racedays and fine dining, but on every other day of the year racecourses work to host business meetings, events, even festivals which are important areas of ‘racing’ hospitality not to underestimate. These events may not have the same high profile as racedays but certainly require just as much support from key players in the hospitality industry. As I discuss in the industry, hospitality covers having a cup of coffee, as well as a three-course meal. We need to protect all of the workers involved in these many stages and varieties of hospitality during this time and in the future.
This year has been incredibly tough for many in hospitality. Seeing people’s stories of redundancy via social media has been devastating, and I’m sad that the teams I’ve loved working with in the past won’t be the same next year. They all need our support, so I am very keen to act as a voice for hospitality within racing for Racing Welfare.
The ongoing support, guidance and advice Racing Welfare give everyone in the racing industry is amazing. The fact that they don’t shy away from difficult conversations about mental health is hugely refreshing and something we can all benefit from. I can’t wait to get involved more with their amazing work, and use my connections, expertise and commitment to racing, hospitality and welfare to help others.
Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster 20th October 2020