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Salisbury Racecourse is one of the region’s most popular racing venues and plays host to 16 race days per year, with anywhere between 2,500 and 10,000 visitors in attendance. As well as great racing, the course boasts a range of bars, eateries and hospitality areas, along with offering live music and family entertainment.
Venture has been working with Salisbury Racecourse since 2015, to manage all aspects of the venue’s security and raceday safety, from providing specialist consultancy to comprehensive event planning and risk assessments.
With Covid-19 restrictions having eased and spectators now trackside once again, we caught up with Raceday Safety Officer and Venture’s Head of Events, Duncan Robertson, to find out what’s been happening. Here’s what he had to say.
“The arrival of Covid-19 and resultant lockdown measures had – and continues to have - a huge impact on the events industry. For sporting venues, such as Salisbury Racecourse, it has meant many additional challenges have needed to be overcome in relation to safety and security.
“When the pandemic first hit, all racecourse activity ground to a halt – just as it did for all other sporting venues across the UK. But as soon as it was permitted, racing began to take place once again, the key difference being that they were held behind closed doors without a crowd.
“Our team worked closely with the racecourse throughout this time, to manage the safety of visitors coming on site and ensuring the required Covid-19 measures were in place and that restrictions were being followed. This included planning for sporting Green Zones, upholding the safety of our own team members, such as through the use of PPE, and using new ways of working that limited contact.
“An easing of restrictions in May 2021 meant spectators were finally able to head back trackside to join the action, albeit in reduced numbers. That really was a fantastic moment! There’s nothing quite like standing in front of the crowd and feeling the atmosphere at a race day.
“However, it brought its own additional challenges. On top of our usual event security planning, the whole Venture team needed to work tirelessly to ensure that all legislation was being adhered to. That meant reacting quickly to numerous changes, which were happening weekly and sometimes daily!
“For example, from a crowd management perspective, we needed to design new ways for people to circulate around the course and calculate new capacities throughout, to understand the number of people entering an area at any one time.
“Throughout the whole pandemic, the Venture management team was also working hard to support team members and to keep them positive – as everyone had personally been impacted by the pandemic in different ways and it was a very uncertain time for many.
“Following ‘freedom day’ on 19 July, we had a further lifting of restrictions and once again adapted how we were operating, in line with government guidance. With a level of normality finally returning – and importantly, a sense of optimism that it’s here to stay - a key focus for us now is recruitment.
“While the last 18-months have been unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before (and hope to ever experience again) they have shown what a strong and resilient team we have at Venture.
“I am incredibly proud of our team and how they have managed the many challenges that have been thrown at them. Seeing the crowds back at Salisbury Racecourse, experiencing the atmosphere and excitement that only a live event can bring and seeing how our team has taken it all in their stride, makes me very grateful to be where I am today.”
To find out more about our event security services, please call us on 01264 391538 or email email@example.com
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