Racing industry launches wellbeing campaign

Coinciding with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, a personal wellbeing campaign to make racing better for everyone, launches today.

The #whenracingwins campaign is about making improvements in the working environment for everyone in Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing, whether jockeys, drivers, trainers, stablehands or other employees.

“It’s not about rules or sweeping policy changes, this campaign is built around achievable everyday moments that make racing a better environment in which to work” said Greyhound Racing NZ’s Michael Dore.

Among the areas of focus are to minimise workplace stress, harassment in various forms, abuse of alcohol or drugs, ensuring the racing community treats everyone with respect, and supporting and encouraging people who need help to speak up.

Studies have shown that upwards of two-thirds of participants in racing believe there is a need for change.

“Various stresses or negative incidents they face can impact on people’s wellbeing, and we risk losing really good participants from racing to other careers where they feel better appreciated and supported. By being mindful of others and treating people with respect the whole industry can benefit.

It’s an important issue, that all three racing Codes recognise and are supporting” said Martin Burns of NZ Thoroughbred Racing.

The campaign has the support of a range of participants who have spoken their thoughts in video clips that will be shared in social media and, will have its own website www.whenracingwins.nz as well as a presence on Facebook.

"That message of harden up might make tough people but it is not sustainable.

We aim to raise awareness and discussion of these issues within the racing community – and provide a clear pathway to report and support, for those who need it.

The push for better standards, and better wellbeing needs to come from people at all levels within the industry” said Salvation Army's Racing Chaplin Andrew McKerrow who features in the campaign's videos.

The campaign starts today and will supported by the Codes and the Salvation Army on an ongoing basis.

Social media will raise awareness of issues and allow people to share their stories or find assistance. The website also provides information and avenues for those wanting help. Posters reinforcing the campaign’s messages will also be displayed at racecourses around the country.

“It’s appropriate that we are launching during mental Health Awareness Week, but we want this campaign to involve all aspects of wellness – the goal is to make racing a better workplace and industry for everyone, whether you are a big-time owner or a stablehand just starting out”, said Harness Racing NZ’s Natalie Gameson.

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