Published on : Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Network Rail and the wider rail industry is teaming up with the Railway Children charity to raise money and awareness for the work being done to help the thousands of children who run away from home every year.
To raise the profile of the Railway Children’s work, directors from Network Rail, train companies, rail industry partners and politicians will sleep out on January 31 at Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham New Street and London Bridge stations, with the aim of raising £25,000.
At Liverpool Lime Street, up to 30 people will sleep on the concourse, including the Metro Mayor for the Liverpool city region, Steve Rotheram. The event is being sponsored by Virgin Trains.
The railway is one of the easiest ways for runaway children to travel, and this year the British Transport Police estimates it will deal with 10,000 child safeguarding incidents on Britain’s railways, a 20% increase from 2017/18.
The BTP dealt with 105 child safeguarding incidents on Merseyside last year and 456 incidents across Greater Manchester. The combined total across the whole of the North West was 838 incidents.
Approximately a third of those children will have run away from home or care, escaping issues such as violence, abuse or neglect.
Pete Kent, programme director for the Railway Children charity, said: “The rail network is often the easiest way to travel for troubled young people looking to run away from their problems. As the BTP is on the transport front line, day in, day out, identifying these vulnerable children, working so closely with them gives us the chance to intervene before it is too late and keep these young people from any further harm.
“We have only been able to carry out this work thanks to the amazing support we have continued to have from across the industry, and we’re hoping this event will see the rail community coming together once again to support us and to support these children. Everyone and anyone can take part – and we’re hoping as many people as possible will get behind our first ever Railway Children Sleepout.”
In the last six months Railway Children’s Manchester project has received 295 referrals from the BTP for children across the North West.
Issues faced by these young people include sexual and criminal exploitation, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, domestic violence, unhealthy relationships, addiction and mental illness.
Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “Rail workers in stations up and down the country play a vital role in spotting those who may be at risk or in distress. The Railway Children charity does fantastic work which often goes unnoticed. The rail industry is working together to raise awareness and money for this worthy cause to help vulnerable young people get the help and support they need.”
Gaynor Stewart, general manager at Virgin Trains, said: “We’re proud to be sponsoring the Big Station Sleepout to raise funds for Railway Children – a charity we have supported for many years. We’ll be joining other rail industry colleagues, sleeping out for the night at major stations to help reach the £25,000 target which will go towards the vital work of identifying and supporting vulnerable children across the railway network.”
Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said: “The Railway Children charity does really valuable work helping vulnerable young people when they most need it. Hopefully this initiative will help support the charity and raise awareness among the general public of how they can help look out for young people in trouble on our rail network.”
Source:- Network Rail
Tags: network rail