It is announced today that WellChild will once again be the official charity partner of The Festival™ at Cheltenham in 2022 (Tuesday 15th March – Friday 18th March inclusive).
WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children and headquartered in Cheltenham. More than 100,000 children and young people are living with serious illness or exceptional health needs across the UK. Without the type of support WellChild offers, many can spend months or even years in hospital. Meanwhile those who are at home are constantly challenged by inconsistent or inadequate levels of support. The charity helps children and young people living with serious health needs to have the best chance to thrive, properly supported at home with their families.
WellChild was official charity partner for the first time in 2021 when The Festival was held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Jockey Club again this year as Official Charity Partner of the Cheltenham Festival 2022.
“We would like to thank The Jockey Club and everyone involved with The Festival for the energy, enthusiasm and hard work they have put into including WellChild in this year’s event and supporting our work with seriously ill children and their families across the UK.
“In fact, we would like to thank the entire racing community – from owners, trainers and jockeys through to racing fans everywhere, for the huge boost they are giving to families with complex needs children. Times are very tough for the families that WellChild support and those difficult days look set to continue. Thanks to you we can offer hope and practical help to them as they carry on the struggle to give their children the very best chance to thrive.”
In recognition of the partnership between WellChild and The Jockey Club, the horse walkway will be renamed the WellChild Walkway for 2022. The WellChild Walkway will be opened on the first day of The Festival (Tuesday 15th March), by Sir AP McCoy, Ed Chamberlin of ITV Racing and Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild.
A Festival preview evening will be staged in the Centaur at the racecourse on Sunday 13th March. Hosted by Oli Bell, the panel will include be Ruby Walsh, Emma Lavelle and Barry Geraghty. Tickets cost just £10 with all proceeds going to WellChild – for further information and to book tickets please go to https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-festival-preview-night/
Cheltenham’s Style Ambassador, Rosie Tapner, will work with the racecourse and John Lewis to style a WellChild mum to ensure she and her family are raceday ready. Cheltenham Racecourse will then supply badges for the WellChild mum to enjoy The Festival in her new outfit!
Boodles, recently announced as sponsor of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will be donating a piece of its signature “Raindance” diamond jewellery to auction off with all proceeds going to WellChild.
Ian Renton, Managing Director for Cheltenham Racecourse and The Jockey Club’s West Region, said: “We were delighted to be able to step in and help WellChild in 2021, when we were still under lockdown and The Festival was held behind closed doors.
“Fortunately, 12 months’ on we are in a much better place and are looking forward to full crowds returning to The Festival for the first time since 2020. I believe this can only build-on and further strengthen our partnership with WellChild as we are able to showcase its invaluable work to an even wider audience.
“We already have a number of exciting and innovative activities planned and we will be working closely with WellChild over the coming days to ensure we all enjoy a Festival to remember in 2022.”
Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing’s Lead Presenter and WellChild ambassador, said: “I have been an ambassador for WellChild for over a decade now and it was heartening to see the link-up between racing and WellChild last year during the depths of pandemic.
“I hope we were able make more people aware of WellChild’s outstanding work through the ITV coverage in 2021 and look forward this year to building-on and expanding the relationship between WellChild and The Festival as we hopefully enter brighter times for us all.”
About The Jockey Club
One of the largest sports businesses operating in the UK today, The Jockey Club is at the heart of so many aspects of Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport. We run 15 of the UK’s leading racecourses – large and local – where we’re charged with looking after some of the nation’s biggest events, including the Randox Grand National at Aintree, The Festival™ at Cheltenham, The Cazoo Derby Festival at Epsom Downs and the QIPCO Guineas Festival in Newmarket. We welcome thousands of racehorses a year to our training centres in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom. We run The National Stud in Newmarket and our charity, Racing Welfare, makes help available to all of racing’s people. We are governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term benefit of British Racing and our Patron is Her Majesty The Queen. For more information please visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk .
www.wellchild.org.uk, Patron – The Duke of Sussex
WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children and their families. More than 100,000 children and young people are living across the UK with serious or exceptional health needs. Many spend months, even years in hospital simply because there is no support enabling them to leave. Meanwhile those who are at home face inconsistent and inadequate levels of support.
Through a nationwide network of children’s nurses, home and garden transformation projects and family information, training and support services, WellChild exists to give this growing population of children and young people the best chance to thrive – properly supported at home, together with their families. With less than 1.5% of income coming from statutory sources, WellChild is wholly reliant on the support of individuals and organisations.
Through its 46 WellChild Nurses based around the UK, WellChild provides practical and emotional support to seriously ill children, young people and their families, enabling them to leave hospital quicker and live life in their own homes. In the last year, WellChild Nurses supported more than 2,700 children and families, whilst more than 440 parents, carers and professionals have been trained via the WellChild Better At Home training programme.
The charity is wholly reliant on voluntary funding and lost 60% of projected income when the COVID-19 crisis took hold due to cancelled or postponed fundraising events and partnerships.
WellChild set up the COVID-19 Direct Response Service in ten days to support shielding families with PPE supplies and advice on food and medicine deliveries.
The charity has since distributed more than 289,000 items of PPE to more than 1,000 families across the UK, who can now let carers back into their homes.
WellChild has also helped families to navigate this uncertain and often confusing period with online information and guidance, which was accessed more than 57,500 times in 2020. Meanwhile, its online family support group, the WellChild Family Tree grew 20% as more than 2,500 families from across the UK connected with one another for mutual advice and support.
In 2019-2020 the WellChild Helping Hands team made 36 bedrooms and gardens safe, accessible and sensory for children living at home with serious health conditions.
WellChild acts as a public advocate for the needs of families, who often feel hidden and isolated. During COVID-19 WellChild has raised awareness at the highest levels of key issues facing families – from PPE and ventilator supply shortages, to back to school provision and vaccine availability.
One of the first WellChild Nurses was based at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. The Jockey Club runs Aintree Racecourse and has proudly supported Alder Hey for many years, including during the Randox Grand National Festival.