Since 13th April, a team of 26 volunteers have been transporting NHS workers and equipment across the region, collectively clocking up over 1,400 volunteer hours.
Comprising staff from Ascot Racecourse, Bet With Ascot, 1711 by Ascot (the racecourse’s catering division), Ascot’s parking contractors CSP and Carpe Diem Executive Cars, the team has been driving medical professionals and supplies between hospital sites for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust using a fleet of 10 BMW cars that were loaned to the Trust.
Over the past three months, Ascot has donated lunches, afternoon teas and mocktails which the team has also delivered to various NHS COVID-19 test centres and ‘Project Wingman’ hospital lounges. The lounges are serviced by furloughed cabin crew and provide a place for NHS staff to unwind and enjoy some TLC in between shifts.
In recognition of their efforts and the great camaraderie that was formed between the drivers and their passengers, the volunteers were asked to group together for a commemorative, socially distanced photograph at the racecourse. Some of the NHS passengers also took the time to come and personally thank the team which is testament to the vital role they played.
To celebrate this achievement and recognise the programme, the 4.45pm race on King George Day (Saturday 25th July 2020) will be named The Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust Ascot Volunteer Drivers Nursey Handicap Stakes.
While this volunteer service has now ended, a close relationship has been formed between Ascot Racecourse and the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and both organisations look forward to working collaboratively together well into the future.
Alastair Warwick, Chief Operating Officer, Ascot Racecourse, commented on the programme:
“A huge thank you to every volunteer for being part of this wonderful initiative and very much at the coal face for the duration of the programme. By all accounts, during these past few months, there have been some moving stories told, laughter shared, and amazing friendships made. There have been flat tyres, keys locked in cars and complete strangers jumping into cars having mistaken them for taxis. But ultimately, 99% of the time, everyone got to where they needed to be. We have all been humbled by the dedication of our NHS workers during this pandemic and the biggest thanks should of course go to them.”
To find out more about Ascot in the community and the racecourse’s wider ‘Ascot Supports’ activities, please click here.