While thousands of visitors enjoy the fun at this year’s famous Cartmel Races, nine charities will also be getting a crucial boost.
Every year the racecourse invites selected charities to attend its race days, raising thousands of pounds for good causes.
This year the causes include cancer care, a children’s hospice, food parcels for families, mental health support and help for retired racehorses.
Racing at Cartmel is a highlight of the Cumbrian year attracting fans and families from across the region as well as famous faces from the world of horse racing.
Cartmel Races is famous for its fun atmosphere with stalls, a fun fair, picnics and gazebos, children and dogs, camping, and visits to restaurants, shops and pubs in nearby Cartmel village.
There will be nine race meetings between May 27 and August 28 this year and internationally acclaimed Bjorn Again will take to the stage performing ABBA’s hits after the racing on June 30.
Two local organisations which will benefit are Cartmel Peninsula Holiday Food Boxes, and Cancer Care North Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Cartmel Peninsula Holiday Food Boxes was founded two years ago by three local people and supplies food to families in the area during school holidays. It is run entirely by volunteers.
Co-founder Rowena Lewis said: “We help 40 families each time we do it. We provide a box of meat and veg and healthy food that people can make into four or five meals for the family over the school holiday.”
The scheme provides boxes of food 10 times a year and families collect them from a local hub. The scheme uses its funding to buy food from local businesses or from Aldi.
“We don’t have the storage for donated food. We buy in the morning, and it is in people’s fridges by the afternoon,” says Rowena. “Some people who are paid an hourly wage lose 50 per cent of their income during the school holidays when mum or dad has to cut their hours to look after the children. Plus, the kids are at home eating, and they can’t get childcare because that costs.”
Both the demand for the service and the cost of running it are rising.
“We were averaging about 25 families last year, but it has now risen to 40. The need is growing all the time,” she said. “Last year it cost us just under £12,000 to run the scheme, but due to the cost-of-living impact, we are forecasting that we will need to find a lot more funding this year.”
Rowena says that the chance to fundraise at Cartmel Racecourse this year is much needed. “It is really important to us to have this opportunity. Every penny we make will go on food or fuel,” she said. “Forty pounds will fund a family for a fortnight. This allows people not to have to worry about the staples.
“The feedback we get is that the scheme is incredibly important to people. We have had people who are very emotional at the point they pick the food up.
“The community needs support. If the scheme wasn’t running, I think there would be people missing meals,” she said.
Cartmel Peninsula Holiday Food Boxes will be at Cartmel Racecourse on Monday, July 24 and Cancer Care North Lancashire and South Cumbria will be raising money on Cartmel’s hugely popular season opener, on May 27.
“We are really looking forward to it,” said Richard Cogger, fundraiser. “It is especially nice that we have been picked this year as this is our 40th anniversary.”
Cancer Care provides support to people who have been affected by cancer or who have been bereaved. As well as one-to-one counselling, Cancer Care also provides complementary therapies and group activities such as art sessions. It also provides a specialist service for children and young people, and a peer support group for teenagers. Last year it supported 2,000 people.
Richard said: “The opportunity to go to Cartmel Races and raise funds and awareness of our work is very valuable right now.
“We get very little government funding and our predicted expenditure for this year is more than £1.9m. We saw a 156 per cent increase in demand for our services last year which was a knock-on effect from Covid and people having delayed cancer diagnosis and therapy.”
The charity is also experiencing rising costs for providing its services. “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the community,” said Richard. “It is fantastic that Cartmel Racecourse is supporting us and allowing us to raise much-needed funds, making sure we can be here for the community when they need us.”
Geraldine McKay, Director of Racing, said: “The team here at Cartmel Racecourse has been working hard to get everything ready for the launch of the 2023 race season.
“The site is looking beautiful, and we can’t wait to open the gates and welcome everyone back for spring and summer of racing, family entertainment and fun.
“Cartmel Racecourse is a long-standing supporter of charities in Cumbria, as well as further afield, and we are delighted to be able to help these nine great causes on our race days this year.
“Hopefully the charities will not only gain much-needed funds but also raise awareness of their crucial work and services. And I’m sure our race day visitors will support them as much as they can.”
The charities attending Cartmel Racecourse race days this year are:
- Cancer Care North Lancs and South Cumbria
- The Well, Barrow in Furness
- Racing Welfare, Nationwide
- St Mary’s Hospice, Ulverston
- Derian House Children’s Hospice, Chorley
- British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre, Lancaster
- Cartmel Peninsula Food Boxes, Cartmel
- Women’s Community Matters, Barrow in Furness
- Growing Well, Kendal