The SFA and Network Rail have teamed up to help children across Scotland

The Scottish FA has signed a new agreement with Network Rail which will invest into football clubs across Scotland to promote rail safety messages.

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 4:45 pm
Training sessions...not only to learn silky skills but key rail safety messages. Pictured at the launch event at Easter Road are (l-r) Alfie Hocknull, Stuart Livingstone, Paul McNeil, Mark Henderson, Bryan O'Neill and Zoe Hocknull (Pic: Paul Devlin)

The two organisations have joined forces for a third year to provide resources to clubs, enabling football to take place alongside the delivery of educational messages to young people about the dangers associated with railway lines.

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 – the length and breadth of the country.

Phase one of the new Network Rail project will commence this month when 44 clubs will receive funding to pay for a minimum of five training sessions. Clubs will be selected based on location.

At each session they will promote a key educational message to young people, with the aim of increasing their understanding of rail safety and the risks associated with issues such as trespassing and anti-social behaviour.

Paul McNeil, the SFA’s head of community development, 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 so this announcement of investment during UEFA Grassroots Week is hugely welcomed.

“It will allow the SFA to directly support grassroots clubs and enable young people to get back on the pitch.”

Each session will provide education around the dangers of the railway, incorporated into fun football activities.

They will be delivered by coaches with additional support at some clubs from British Transport Police officers.

In the past three years, rail safety has been delivered during holiday camps which has yielded positive results.

Mark Henderson, senior community engagement manager for Network Rail, said: “Not only can we help young people improve their 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.”