There are many statistics associated with lockdown. One that has worried many is this – in the first month of lockdown, trespassing on Britain’s railways increased by 25%. With the prospect of a long summer ahead, that number has to be brought down.
Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) span the whole of the UK, working with communities along their routes and with the rail industry they are fully supported by the Department for Transport and well placed to get the railway safety message across.
Officers from CRPs including the Bishop Line CRP meet several times a year to share good practice. With COVID-19 this moved to Zoom meetings with the advantage of officers from more CRPs being able to attend.
Karen Bennett, Education Officer, Community Rail Lancashire and Chair of the Education Network, said ‘At our first Zoom meeting we were rather shocked by the increase in trespassing and the ‘room’ immediately said ‘We can do something about that’. In a matter of weeks a national competition has been devised, prizes sponsored and backing received from across the rail industry.
The competition is open to all 11-18 year olds across the UK and has six categories, with entrants being asked to make a video, write a song/rap, produce a storyboard or write a script which shares the anti-trespassing message. For each category, a GoPro Hero8 bundle is up for grabs. There are two key elements that entrants must remember – the video must be made from the young person’s home or garden, and must not show any violence!
‘We want young people to show off their creativity to get the message across to their peers that being on the tracks in potentially deadly. And in order to spread the message to as many young people as possible, we are suggesting that young people (over 13 years old) share their video or song on social media and we have a category for the entry with the greatest social media impact!’ said Karen.
Robert Whitehouse, Chair of Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership commented “Its disturbing the extent of the current problem of trespassing, despite the lockdown measures, even one trespass incident is too many. Our line links into the East Coast Main Line so as a partnership we are very supportive of any measure which could help to reduce the number of trespassing cases in our area.”
The competition closes on 30th September 2020 and more information can be found on the competition website www.downtheline.org.uk/projects/backtrack