The Scottish FA and Network Rail have been working in collaboration to raise awareness of railway safety at a series of football camps throughout 2021.
By combining sport and education for children aged seven to 11, the camps mix professional coaching from the Scottish FA with rail safety messaging from Network Rail and British Transport Police.
Network Rail’s ongoing electrification rollout across their network is necessary for the sustainability of Scotland’s railways, but it brings hazardous live electricity to railway lines.
Through their unique ability to reach thousands of school age children, the Scottish FA are playing a pivotal role in supporting the delivery of important safety messages as the electrification process reaches more stations, railway lines and communities across the country.
BBC Scotland’s popular show ‘Inside Central Station’ recently highlighted the success of the innovative programme designed to harness the power of football to educate and alert children to the dangers they could face.
In the documentary, South West Region side Dean Thistle Community Football Club can be seen going through the paces of a training session, utilising hydration breaks to engage in question-and-answer sessions and wearing Network Rail training bibs displaying facts and figures about rail safety.
With more than 45,000 children participating in these innovative sessions, the messages can be delivered in a stimulating fashion and spread far and wide to increase awareness and save lives.
Another recent example of the partnership’s ability to educate children on rail safety came through a series of football camps in East Kilbride recently.
East Kilbride MSP Collette Stevenson also attended the first event to watch the youngsters in action and support the railway’s safety message.
Collette Stevenson MSP: “Safety education is crucial to our young people, especially as we aim to promote more green transport links in our communities.
“The young people involved really embraced the safety talks and the variety of stakeholders such as British Transport Police and the Scottish FA who were involved all played an active part in ensuring it was a fun day whilst raising awareness of station and track safety.
“Network Rail’s long-term commitment to embed themselves in our local communities is very welcoming and I look forward to working with them in the future.”
Paul McNeill, Scottish FA Head of Community Development: “Our partnership with Network Rail has been a tremendous success over the past three years, harnessing the Power of Football to grasp the attention of youngsters and help to deliver important safety messages in the process.
“Everyone knows the benefits that participation in football brings, both mentally and physically, and by adding a safety message to these football camps we are using football to reach out even further and educate children in an extremely important subject.
“This latest series of camps not only delivers safety messages but also raises awareness of the work being done to electrify the lines in this area, which is a tremendously important process at any time, but especially so right now with the eyes of the world on Glasgow as it hosts COP26.
Kevin Rooney, Network Rail project sponsor for the East Kilbride works: “Any incident in which a member of the public is injured or killed while on the tracks is a tragedy and something we work hard to try to prevent.
“Keeping people safe on and around the railway is at the heart of everything we do, and we were delighted to work collaboratively with Scottish FA and BTP on delivering rail safety messages amongst the local community in East Kilbride.
“The work we are undertaking will mean faster, quieter electric trains will be running on the line and overhead power cables carry enough electricity to kill anyone who comes into contact with them. Making people aware of these dangers is a vital part of the enhancement project.”
For more information on the project visit: https://scotlandsrailway.com/projects/east-kilbride-enhancements