Pontefract Racecourse set to be first track to be 'autism friendly' for every meeting in 2024

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​Pontefract Racecourse is set to become the first in the country to make every one of their meetings Autism Friendly racedays in 2024.

Bobby Beevers, chair and founder of Autism in Racing, is delighted to get more Autism Friendly racedays in the calendar and is backing Pontefract’s initiative.

He said: "I think it's absolutely amazing that Pontefract are making all their fixtures Autism-Friendly.

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"Huge well done to Richard, Norman and the team for making it happen.

Pontefract Racecourse is to be the first to host Autism in Racing Racedays at every meeting in 2024.Pontefract Racecourse is to be the first to host Autism in Racing Racedays at every meeting in 2024.
Pontefract Racecourse is to be the first to host Autism in Racing Racedays at every meeting in 2024.

"Autism in Racing and Pontefract Racecourse have built a strong relationship and I'm really looking forward to working with the track for the season ahead."

Hosting its first Autism in Racing racedays in 2023, Pontefract has made huge steps in improving all aspects of accessibility and recently carried out a major scheme to upgrade the accessible facilities throughout the site.

Their ‘Racing for Everyone’ race meeting in June 2023 won the coveted ‘Raceday Award’ at the Racecourse Association Showcase Event in November.

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Richard Hammill, chief operating officer for Pontefract Racecourse, said: “Raising awareness of Autism and playing our part in enabling the racing industry to be more inclusive is hugely important to us all at Pontefract.

"The racecourse has a long association of working with customers and racegoers who have additional needs, as well as with Autism in Racing and to be able to put something in place to make the racecourse even more inclusive throughout the season is incredible.”

The course will be working in conjunction with their ticketing provider, Future Ticketing, who will provide valuable funding to enable the initiative to take place every day.

Hammill continued: "We are thrilled to be working with Future Ticketing to host Autism Friendly racedays throughout 2024.

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"Their support is invaluable and we are really excited to be able to partner with them on this project.”

Ann Marie Guinan, Future Ticketing’s chief marketing officer, is excited that Future Ticketing are part of the venture:

She said: “Future Ticketing are extremely proud to work with Pontefract Races on this project. Racing is an inclusive and accessible sport and we are delighted that we can enable further attendance and an Autism friendly experience to racegoers at Ponte.”

As part of their Autism Friendly racedays, the racecourse and Future Ticketing will provide designated quiet and safe spaces for autistic racegoers, or those who may have additional needs, including complimentary soft drinks and biscuits.

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In addition, there will be a dedicated sensory room, provided by Immersive, at every race meeting.

William Buick, champion jockey and ambassador for Autism in Racing said: “I congratulate Pontefract for their commitment to Autism Friendly racedays.

"My family has first hand experience of autism and as an ambassador for Autism in Racing I welcome the way racecourses are embracing the concept."

Any racegoers wishing to apply for places at any Autism in Racing fixture can contact Autism in Racing on X at https://twitter.com/autisminracing (@autisminracing).