Gratitude Games support Emergency Responders’ mental health

Thursday 09 September 2021

Motorsport UK is delighted to support the launch of the Gratitude Games, a new sporting event that aims to raise awareness and support the mental health challenges faced by many of our emergency service and NHS workers, many of whom also volunteer in motorsport.

Next year, renowned sporting venues in Manchester and Salford will host the inaugural Gratitude Games, including the iconic Etihad campus. It will unite over 20,000 Emergency Responders and their families from 17 different Emergency Services to participate in 20 sporting disciplines, including karting, to thank them for everything they have done and continue to do. The triathlon and road running events will be open to the public of all sporting abilities.

Motorsport UK has almost 300 licensed paramedics and approximately 200 doctors, many of whom are either currently working or recently worked within the Emergency Services, giving up their spare time to support the sport. Our volunteers are the beating heart of UK motorsport, and it is their dedication to the safe and effective running of events that keep the sport running across the country.

The Gratitude Games is also hoping to generate £10 million in fundraising to further support the mental health of every Emergency Responder over the next five years. Bucks-based firefighter Mike Downard and sports industry veteran Simon Rider, who founded the charity UK Emergency Services Giving (UKESG), are the brains behind the first Gratitude Games.

“In my 18 years as a firefighter, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact that working on the front line can have on your mental health. You can be dealing with multiple traumatic events daily, and that can take its toll,” said Mike when discussing the issues that motivated him to develop the Gratitude Games as a vital fundraising platform to UKESG.

“The pandemic has affected the mental health of many, but especially those of us in the emergency services – so there is an urgent need to make sure the specialist support is readily available. To help make this a reality, we are calling upon the British public and businesses to get behind the Gratitude Games – by donating to the fundraising appeal and sharing the message of the Games to friends and family.”

Many motorsport medics were on the frontline as the global pandemic hit Britain and competitive motor racing was on hold. To find out more and register your interest visit the Gratitude Games website or the fundraising appeal to donate.