Getting more people out of the house and going to the races
I want to get people to go racing again, hence the start of the #GoRacingGreen hashtag. People like me that would normally not go racing because they have anxiety, people like the many who are contacting me who aren’t going because they are widowed, because they don’t want to go on their own, because they just don’t feel comfortable in that environment.
Race meetings are not generally places where people that face social anxieties, which include dementia and many other conditions, feel comfortable due to the volume of people, crowds, noise, size of venue, venue aesthetics, the consumption of alcohol. I know this both from my own feelings and experiences, and the professional training I have undertaken in my career. They are actually high in the rankings of places that we would avoid.
But I am hoping that #GoRacingGreen will change that.
So just how many people could this benefit?
The most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey indicates that there approximately 3 million people in the UK with depression as their primary problem and 3 million with an anxiety disorder (source: Anxiety UK).
Now, whilst not all of these people are going to enjoy racing, this is still a significant number of people, say just 1% of those suffering only with anxiety disorder did, that is still 30,000 people.
Well placed to work with the racecourses
I want to go into racecourses and help them make the, in most cases small, changes and additions that open up a whole new sector into the racing community, that help towards improving people’s quality of life, and having a positive impact on social isolation.
Since I am both a sufferer of social anxiety and may other fears and phobias, and this is a large part of what I do within my day job, I am well placed to work with the courses to put invisible access statements in place, as well as to market the changes implemented directly to those sectors who they have made the improvements for.
Whilst most have access statements in place – level access, lifts, disabled toilets, none have an “Invisible Access Statement” in place. To be honest, not many businesses do as yet, so what a great opportunity for the racing industry to lead the way?
The #GoRacingGreen Community
The aim of the hat, or ribbon (initially a one-off idea for Cheltenham that took off), is that it signifies you support #GoRacingGreen and gets people talking again. It may be that you are on your own, it may be that you are anxious, or it may be because you are happy for people to come and say hello to you, or sit with you.
I can’t obviously get to every race meeting, but if you are going racing and would like to wear the hat or the ribbon, that is great… it’s all about raising awareness.
You can also support the campaign on Twitter @novicefilly, or just tweet using the #GoRacingGreen hashtag.