Around 300 local Primary 7 pupils within Larbert have recently taken part in a new project delivered locally by Falkirk Community Trust in partnership with Network Rail & Stenhousemuir in the Community to help promote and educate youngsters on rail safety. 

The programme comes on the back of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme with Network Rail keen to make their mark in the area and leave a lasting legacy as well as get over key messages and information on the dangers of trespassing on the new lines.

The programme itself involved the delivery of fun generic football sessions over a two-week period within the local primary schools as well as coaches re-enforcing key messages and facts to the kids. This was followed up with a presentation from Football Development Officer Aidan Forbes highlighting the benefits and dangers of the new electric lines that are being installed. 

To celebrate the end of the project a fun festival was put on with 100 kids being selected to represent their schools and was hosted at Stenhousemuir FC’s Ochilview Park on their new 3G surface. 

Feedback on the day was fantastic and clearly enjoyed by all who attended.  Key however to what has been delivered is the legacy of such projects with all schools having now agreed to meet on a monthly basis to take part in fun festivals.  Not only will this provide a platform for local schools to compete against each other in a safe environment but we can continue to work with local school volunteers to upskill them through Coach Education and any other support mechanisms that may be requested.

Aidan Forbes, Football Development Officer for Falkirk said: “This has been a fantastic project to help deliver within the local Larbert cluster and I am sure that we are making a real positive impact with local children.  The knowledge of the kids in the schools has been really impressive and their interaction during the sessions has been second to none. 

"We hope that this type of project leaves a real legacy in the area by promoting the benefits of football as well as educating youngsters on Rail Safety and look forward to working with both Network Rail & Stenhousemuir in the Community to deliver further ventures in the future. 

"A special mention to Will Hogan from Stenny who co-ordinated everything at their end and has helped to ensure the success of this programme”

Paul Reilly, Programme Manager for the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme added: "We are delighted that the opportunity to work in partnership with the Scottish FA and Falkirk Community Trust to deliver rail safety awareness prior to the electrification of the line as part of EGIP has come about.

"This model provides Network Rail with the ability to engage with large numbers of young people, educating them on rail safety awareness using football to deliver this, sign posting them to take part in meaningful activities at times synonymous with anti-social behaviour.  This is part of our wider community engagement programme delivered in partnership with Scottish FA whereby looking to engage with local communities before, during and after the project”.