The Scottish FA are delighted to announce a new agreement with Network Rail which will allow investment into football clubs across Scotland, to promote key rail safety messages.
The two organisations have joined forces for a third consecutive year to provide resources to clubs, enabling football activity to take place alongside the delivery of educational messages to young people about the dangers associated with railway lines.
The launch of the new project is part of UEFA Grassroots week, which celebrates the importance and value of the grassroots game.
Over the course of the next 12 months the exciting initiative will engage with more than 10,000 young people through a wide range of football clubs across the length and breadth of the country.
Phase one of the new Network Rail project will commence this month where 44 clubs will become initially involved with funding provided so sessions can be facilitated.
The clubs will be selected in partnership with Network Rail based on their location.
The programme specifically provides football clubs with the resources to deliver a minimum of five training sessions. At each session they will promote a key educational message to those young people involved, with the aim of increasing their knowledge and understanding of rail safety and the risks associated with issues such as trespassing and anti-social behaviour around railway lines.
Each session will provide education around the dangers of the railway environment incorporated into fun football activities. They will be delivered by coaches with additional support and input at some clubs from British Transport Police Officers.
In the past three years, rail safety has been delivered during holiday camps and has yielded positive results in terms of educating youngsters on the importance of being safe around railway lines.
Scottish FA’s Head of Community Development, Paul McNeil said: “Football is so important to our nation and the grassroots game is at the heart of that. We have had such challenging times recently and this announcement of investment during UEFA Grassroots Week is hugely welcomed.
“It will allow the Scottish FA to directly support grassroots clubs and enable young people to get back on the pitch to play as well as enabling football to deliver key rail safety messages.
“The partnership with Network Rail, now moving into the third year, has been hugely successful and we look forward to engaging with more clubs, increasing the number of young people playing football and improving their rail safety knowledge.”
Mark Henderson, senior community engagement manager for Network Rail, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Scottish FA and the British Transport Police again to deliver this innovative programme.
“Not only can we help the young people involved improve their footballing skills, we can also deliver an important safety message in a fun way.
“The railway can be a very dangerous environment – trains take a long time to stop and anyone struck by one will suffer life-changing injuries or worse. There are also many hidden dangers on the tracks – like overhead power lines which can carry up to 25,000 volts of electricity.”