The benefits to young people of close contact with horses and ponies are well known and the soon-to-be-launched Newmarket Pony Academy (NPA) will give young people in and around Newmarket the opportunity to make the most of these benefits. Despite being the headquarters of racing, Newmarket does not currently provide an opportunity for its young people to learn to ride unless they are fortunate enough to have family involvement. The Newmarket Pony Academy (NPA) seeks to change this.
The team at the British Racing School (BRS), where the NPA will be based, has been working with local schools, West Suffolk Council and Godolphin to bring the dream of the Academy to fruition. Following a successful pilot and thanks to the generosity of The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust and Godolphin, the project is now set to become reality.
The NPA, which is set to launch in April, will operate a range of programmes to meet the needs of different groups of young people including:
Nigel Payne MBE, Trustee The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, was keen to show his support for the NPA: “The NPA is a fantastic initiative and one we are delighted to support. Sir Peter was passionate about horses, horseracing and young people and I know he would be delighted to have been associated with this project.”
Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “This is a great project and we wish it every continued success. It is part of the Families and Communities approach at West Suffolk Council to help where we can to bring people and community assets together so that ideas like this, which have a real benefit for young people in Newmarket, can flourish and grow. I applaud the work of everyone involved as well as our partners who have brought the Newmarket Pony Academy to life and will help many young people learn new skills and gain confidence both now and in later life.”
Nick Froy, Newmarket Academy and Sybil Andrews Academy Executive Headteacher, highlighted the benefits already seen in the NPA pilot scheme, commenting: “The students who took part in the NPA pilot returned to school with increased positivity and confidence. I am convinced that engaging with the NPA will be a transformational activity for the young people of Newmarket and its surrounding areas that will make a real difference to their futures.”
Andrew Braithwaite, British Racing School Finance Director, commented: “The case for racing becoming more open and inclusive is clear and the NPA will allow us and the wider industry to give young people a real insight into horseracing regardless of their background and, for those bitten by the bug, a route into the industry. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust for their generous support of this project and to the team at Godolphin for their vision and drive”
Penny Taylor, UK Charities Manager at Godolphin, said: “Horses are the fabric of Newmarket, but the majority of children growing up here have no opportunity to even touch one.We believe we have a responsibility to change that and make the positives of involvement with horses available to as many people as possible.”