Just over two years ago Kindred, through its Unibet brand, announced a groundbreaking partnership with GoRacingGreen a horse racing project founded by Debbie Matthews, that aimed to make racing accessible to those who suffer from mental health problems.
Kindred’s investment meant that Debbie was able to extend her fledgeling project across the whole country, ensuring that many people with invisible illnesses and those with challenges in life could attend race meetings and stable visits, safe in the knowledge that the days had been organised and arranged by a body that catered for them.
Through Kindred funding, GoRacingGreen works with racecourses to introduce small changes and additions around the site that can help those with invisible illnesses enjoy a day at the races. These include sensory guides and invisible access statements to aid potential new racegoers in deciding whether to venture out to racecourses in the first place.
Racecourses which Unibet sponsor are contracted to ensure key operational staff undergo mandatory mental health awareness and Dementia Friends training sessions prior to race sponsorship. The course is also contracted to provide a designated quiet space for those with invisible illnesses to visit on the day, in case things become difficult for them once at the races.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, Kindred’s brand Unibet and GoRacingGreen joined forces once more when Debbie Matthews joined Unibet ambassador Nicky Henderson at his Seven Barrows stable. They talked openly about how working with horses had helped him and his team over the period of the last 18 months.
Following her visit to Seven Barrows, Debbie visited Cleeve Hill, which overlooks Cheltenham racecourse, home of the Cheltenham Festival and one of the biggest races of the entire year, the Unibet Champion Hurdle run every March.
Tackling mental health remains one of Kindred’s core sponsorship commitments. Within their racing partnership mix, Kindred Group supports Debbie and GoRacingGreen throughout the year, so that she can arrange stable and racecourse visits, enabling horse racing to be more accessible to those who suffer from mental health. We asked Debbie how she feels about the partnership:
“I would like to send my sincere thanks to Unibet Racing and Kindred Group for supporting these racecourse and stable visits. Their support means I have time to organise, attend, write and market the visits, ensuring that more and more people with invisible illnesses are aware of our organisation and the trips we provide. These visits are vital to people's mental health and wellbeing. Finally, I would like to thank trainers like Nicky Henderson, who have opened up their stables for us on a regular basis.
“The sense of belonging these stable and racecourse visits bring to people, cannot be underestimated." - Debbie Matthews
Some of those who visit us live alone, but like me, feel they have never really fit in. They come into this amazing environment with horses and nature and often interact with people they never met before. This can be very difficult for people with many challenges in life, but they are being made to feel welcome, 'normal', and not judged. They can sit around a table, drinking tea and eating cake with people who understand and share a common passion. How amazing is it, that stable and racecourse visits can do this?
It was most appropriate for me to join Kindred in their 4.6 mile, 285m climb up Cleeve Hill last week. Not only does it overlook the beautiful Cheltenham racecourse, but this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is Connecting With Nature, and that is exactly what we did during the week. There are so many proven benefits linked to mental health and nature and it was great to get that message across.”
Ed Nicholson, Head of Kindred Group Racing communications & Sponsorship shares more about the partnership:
“Our partnership with GoRacingGreen shows a new model for sports sponsorship is possible. Kindred and its brands, including Unibet, is leading the way in becoming the sponsor of choice for sporting organisations and their communities. It was a pleasure to work closely with GoRacingGreen during this particular week and also great to see our Unibet ambassadors joining in too. Tackling mental health is one of Kindred Group's core sponsorship commitments.”
"By using our sporting assets and partnerships to cut through effectively with adult audiences, we are becoming the sponsor of choice for sporting organisations and their communities."- Ed Nicholson
GoRacingGreen will also carry out a series of sponsored visits in North England this week, bringing our commitment to mental health awareness and wellbeing to life beyond Mental Health awareness week throughout the year. The events can be found below.
#GoRacingGreen North East
In mid-May #GoRacingGreen heads to the North West for the first time to offer those in the local areas the opportunity to attend stable visits. This is something that had been in the pipeline pre-Covid-19, so #GoRacingGreen is delighted that this is finally able to go ahead. The schedule is:
17th May Ruth Jefferson
A warm and friendly welcome awaits us at Newstead Cottage Stables, which is situated just outside the historic training centre of Malton in North Yorkshire, to meet Ruth, her team and some of the horses.
18th May Elwick Stud
Elwick Stud was established at Sheraton Farm, set in over 200 acres of County Durham countryside. Home to over 80 horses, including a growing band of 35 broodmares, they raise foals, yearlings are brought on for sale or prepared to go into racing and horses out of training are rested.
19th May Rebecca Menzies
Rebecca is a dual-purpose trainer with a picturesque yard at Howe Hills Stables in Mordon, which has been their home since the summer of 2016. Meet the horses and the team and see the state of the art facilities.
Places are limited due to both Covid and the nature of the visits, so if you are interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions and book a place.
#GoRacingGreen stable and stud visits and events and supported by The Kindred Group through Unibet Racing to make racing accessible to everyone.