Kelso Races prepares to re-open after receiving £100k boost from South of Scotland Enterprise

Widely known as ‘Britain’s Friendliest Racecourse’ based in beautiful Borders countryside, Kelso Racecourse secured a £100k grant from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund - to help them recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Due to the devastating impact of the virus, Kelso Racecourse lost a third of their annual income, leaving a gap in their cashflow for the coming season. The funding from SOSE is helping support the roll out of a maintenance programme which is creating projects for local tradesmen and generating employment in the area.

As lockdown restrictions start to ease, plans are being put in place for Kelso’s annual charity event to take place this coming Wednesday September 16th. This will mark the opening of Kelso’s 2020/21 racing season and will offer support to a variety of local charities and good causes. Arrangements are constantly under review to enable racegoers to enjoy their day in a Covid-safe way.

Jonathan Garratt, Managing Director of Kelso Races said: “In addition to enabling us to adapt our facilities for events and prepare the racecourse for a changed future, the PERF support is being used to directly fund work which will be completed by local people and will therefore bolster the local supply chain.

We have been able to take all our ground staff off the furlough scheme, and we have contractors on site including painters, carpenters and telecom providers. They are undertaking a range of maintenance work which will enhance the race-day experience for our paying customers, once we can admit them, as well as make it Covid-safe where we have had to adapt our services.

I can see the fund having a multiplier effect which will benefit many businesses and individuals throughout the Scottish Borders – not least those who are connected to racehorse trainers, farriers and feed merchants who live in the countryside around us.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise said: “I’m delighted to hear that Kelso Races is planning its return to racing in the coming weeks.

“The Covid-19 crisis has been a hugely challenging time for many businesses across the South of Scotland, and as the enterprise agency for the South of Scotland we are committed to doing everything we can to provide support wherever it is needed both for our economy and our communities.

“Kelso racecourse brings with it a major boost to the local economy as well as providing jobs and giving our region national and international exposure. This grant has therefore been absolutely vital to continue to support this well-known and much-loved landmark and attraction in our area.

“They have used the grant received to create job opportunities for local people at a crucial time for our economy - and these jobs will make an invaluable contribution to rebuilding our communities and businesses as we begin our recovery journey.

“I’d like to wish Jonathan Garratt and his team at Kelso Races every success in the coming months ahead as they start to re-build and I thank them for their individual contribution to the community.”