As the government appointed a minister to help tackle the loneliness suffered by an estimated nine million people across the country, Newmarket-based charity Racing Welfare has launched its own initiative to help racing staff cope with what has been called a ‘social epidemic’.
The new service has been named Be Friendly after the dual Haydock Sprint Cup winner owned by the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan, a long-standing supporter of the charity.
It is part of Racing Welfare’s wider campaign to reduce social isolation and loneliness within the horseracing community, specifically those retired from the industry.
“The charity is aware that it can be a major contributory factor leading to serious health problems and therefore runs a programme of coffee mornings, outings and holidays for people who have retired from the racing industry,” said charity spokeswoman Rachel Cawley.
The Be Friendly service is aimed at helping those from the horseracing industry who are either elderly or incapacitated and could find themselves isolated in their homes.
The helpline will be making calls on a regular basis to people, not only to have a chat but also to ensure that everything is okay.
Anyone who would like to sign up to the Be Friendly service, which is free and confidential, can do so by calling Racing Welfare’s 24-hour helpline on 0800 6300 443.
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