Beverley Racecourse has claimed a prestigious racing industry award for being the first track in the UK to stage a deaf-friendly raceday.
Beverley was awarded the Outstanding Initiative Award at the Racecourse Association (RCA) Showcase & Awards, the Oscars of the racing industry.
The Beverley Racecourse team with Katie Walsh (far left) and Sam Quek (far right).
The annual awards celebrate excellence and innovation in customer experience at racecourses across the country. For just the second time in the history of the RCA Showcase & Awards, the judges made a special award for an initiative which they felt transcended the awards categories and was deserving of special recognition.
Designed in partnership with the British Deaf Association (BDA), Beverley Racecourse staged the deaf-friendly raceday in September. The pioneering event included British Sign Language (BSL) interpretations of the build-up to races, displayed on a big screen, and extra training for staff to ensure that people with hearing impairments were able to enjoy fully a thrilling day at the races.
It is hoped the initiative, which will be developed further throughout 2019, will be followed by other racecourses around the UK.
During the RCA Showcase Seminar, held before the evening awards event, Beverley Racecourse Chief Executive Sally Iggulden and Marketing Manager Kate McKee delivered a keynote presentation about making racing accessible to people with disabilities, together with Robin Ash, the BDA’s Access & Inclusion Officer, while his colleague, Lisa Brailsford, provided a sign language translation to delegates.
Robin Ash talks to the audience about the work of the British Deaf Association, as Sally Iggulden looks on.
Ms Iggulden said: “We’re incredibly proud to win the Outstanding Initiative Award for the work we are doing in partnership with the British Deaf Association. We have a long-standing commitment to improve inclusivity and accessibility to racing for the whole community and our partnership with the British Deaf Association is a prime example of this. We’re looking forward to building on this work during the 2019 season.”
Mr Ash said: “This award is well deserved. We hope the work Beverley Racecourse has done with us will inspire other racecourses to consider the needs of deaf people and enhance the racegoing experience for all.”
The award for Beverley Racecourse was announced at the RCA Showcase & Awards ceremony at Aintree Racecourse, with Hamilton Park racecourse taking the top accolade of Showcase Champion for 2018.
RCA Chairman Maggie Carver said: “The foundations of our Showcase and Awards, excellence and innovation, were on show amongst all of our finalists and the eventual winners. The competition in 2018 was as fierce as ever and our winners have shown exceptional commitment to delivering outstanding customer experiences.”
The 2018 Showcase & Awards accolade is the latest recognition for the Beverley course and follows success in the Food and Beverage category in the same awards last year. Beverley was also voted the Best Value Racecourse in the North in 2017 by members of the Racegoers Club, the official supporters club for British racing fans.
Last month Beverley Racecourse and catering partners, CGC Event Caterers, won the 'People’s Choice' Award at the National Racecourse Catering Awards, which recognise and reward the UK’s racecourse caterers across a number of categories, from fine dining to fast food. This award is considered perhaps the greatest accolade of the ceremony; an award voted for by the racegoers themselves and hotly contested with the top 6 including Ascot, Newcastle and York Racecourse.
Members of the Beverley catering team at CGC Events with their accolades at the National Racecourse Catering Awards
In addition, Beverley has been given a five star rating for customer experience as part of the Racecourse Association’s Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme assessed independently by VisitEngland and VisitScotland. The ranking placed Beverley among the top 12 courses in England and Wales in 2017, alongside venues such as Aintree and Ascot, and 2018's rating is expected to be even higher.