More than 20 young people in South Wales have volunteered to help save lives on the railways. They attended a training session at the Newport Leisure Centre earlier this month organised by StreetGames, the award-winning sports charity.
StreetGames has joined forces with Network Rail, infrastructure operator of Britain’s railway network, in a national partnership to educate young people in Wales about the potential dangers associated with the rail network.
They also plan to reduce anti-social behaviour involving young people in and around train tracks, stations and level crossings.
Tracey Young, Network Rail’s community safety manager, said: “We are building on StreetGames’ goal of delivering sport to the doorsteps of young people in disadvantaged communities.
“The StreetGames volunteers will work with local community and young people’s groups to establish new sporting projects across five districts in Wales with high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour around the railways: Newport, Splott (Cardiff), St Fagans (Cardiff), Pencoed (Bridgend) and Gowerton (Swansea).
“The partnership with Network Rail will include financial investment, which will pay for training, sports equipment, educational resources and coaching fees in these areas.”
The enterprise will see 50 new young volunteers from the local communities, trained in how to deliver ‘doorstep sport’, along with 30 British Transport Police officers receiving tuition on the benefits of door-step sport to their work.
They will be shown CCTV video clips and films of level crossings misuse and trespass incidents, as well as being taught how to deter crimes such as vandalism, stone-throwing and graffiti. They will be taught how to engage with young people and show them how dangerous the railways and level crossings can be.
Caro Wild, StreetGames’ Welsh manager said: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Network Rail, their support will really make a difference to the safety and health of hundreds of young people in the target districts.
“We know that young people from many neighbourhoods in Wales simply do not have enough opportunity to play sport in their communities and we are working hard with our partners to improve this situation.”
Tracey Young added: “We see this partnership with StreetGames as a vital step to keeping more young people safe and away from dangerous situations connected with the railway.
“The concept is modelled on previous award-winning projects in Bristol where new sporting activities have been shown to dramatically reduce the amount of reported incidents in the target areas.”