Racing Welfare has launched a telephone befriending service for vulnerable, lonely or isolated people from the horseracing industry with the aim of reducing and preventing loneliness and social isolation. The service has been named ‘Be Friendly’ after the dual Haydock Sprint Cup winner owned by Sir Peter O’Sullevan, a longstanding supporter of the charity.

The Be Friendly service is for people from the horseracing industry who are either elderly or incapacitated, are isolated in their homes and may be vulnerable.  The helpline will be making calls on a regular basis to people, not only to have a chat but also to ensure that everything is OK. Any person that would like to sign up to the Be Friendly service can do so by calling Racing Welfare’s 24hr helpline on 0800 6300 443. The service is completely free and confidential.

This new telephone befriending service is part of Racing Welfare’s wider campaign to reduce social isolation and loneliness within the horseracing community. The charity is aware that it can be a major contributory factor leading to serious health problems and therefore runs a programme of coffee mornings, outings and holidays for people who have retired from the racing industry.

Telephone befriending is an important additional service which studies have shown to have a very positive impact upon participant’s mental wellbeing. In a report from Befriending Networks, a study including 123 service users showed that 76% of participants feel better about themselves after taking part in using a befriending service and a further 71% of participants felt more confident since joining a befriending scheme.

Simone Sear, Director of Welfare at Racing Welfare said: “It is really fitting to be able to name this important new service after one of Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s most notable horses. Racing Welfare has received more than £250,000 from the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust in the past five years alone. It is a vital contribution to ensure Racing Welfare can maintain and develop its services to support racing’s people.”

Nigel Payne for Sir Peter’s Trust said: “Racing Welfare was one of Peter’s six favourite charitable causes and the Trust continues to support their work. Peter would be chuffed to bits to have Be Friendly recognised in this manner.”

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