United to help youngsters stay safe
Children in Leeds are taking in a city-wide rail safety awareness programme this week in conjunction with Leeds United stars, Network Rail and the official charity of the club, Leeds United Foundation.
Over 200 youngsters are attending daily sessions at Meadow Field Primary in Halton Moor with track safety and rail awareness messages accompanying a free Leeds United Foundation Soccer School as part of Autumn Half-Term.
Speaking about the scheme, Leeds United Chief Executive, Ben Mansford, said:
“As a football club we are at the heart of our communities every day and it allows us to make people, and particularly children, more aware of serious issues such as being safe on the rails.
The Leeds United badge carries immense passion in the city and by harnessing that pride and belief with visits and talks in schools from our players in conjunction with our Foundation, Leeds as a whole will benefit every single day. It’s vital we as a club continue to help children become safer, more protected and stay away from harm.”
Halton Moor in East Leeds is identified as one of the country’s rail safety hotspots with a higher than average number of rail and track incidents in recent years. The Leeds United Foundation’s Network Rail programme is viewed as the leading rail safety sport programmes in the country, supporting the community and city in becoming safer and more protected.
Leeds United player, Stuart Dallas, continued:
“Playing in a major city where in the past there have been issues with misuse of the train tracks, this programme means a lot to me personally. There have been massive strides made in ensuring our young people are educated on rail awareness and the club in conjunction with Network Rail, the British Transport Police and Leeds United Foundation have been really focused on that. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the children this week and being a part of their learning.
The number of people travelling on trains in the UK has doubled since 1995 to over 1.5 billion people a year and with Leeds Railway Station now the third busiest station outside of London with over 27 million people using it each year.
Hayley Bull, Community Safety Manager, Network Rail said:
“Safety is Network Rail’s priority and raising awareness of the dangers of the railway is vital for us. Our partnership with Leeds United Foundation means we can get our message across effectively to children which will help reduce incidents on the railway, especially during half-term weeks. Events like this are so important because they engage with the young people we are trying to reach and in an interactive way that helps them clearly understand the risks.”
There are over 300 fatalities a year in the UK from track misuse and related incidents.
Simon Fox, Head of Fundraising & Commercial, Leeds United Foundation, concluded:
“The Foundation has done a lot of work in Leeds to ensure we all understand the massive risks of playing on the train lines and the consequences of doing so. Working with Network Rail, Leeds United and British Transport Police on the programme has really hit home with all the school children we have met with and they have all genuinely enjoyed it.”