Railway safety has for a long time been something that is a fundamental component in any school childs life. Reflecting back I’m sure we can all still picture the man at the front of the class telling us in a monotone voice the do’s and don’ts around how to conduct oneself on the railway. Hands firmly fixed to the chins of the child as they observed (not listen) politely, thinking, ‘when on earth will this misery be over?’ and ‘when will I be able to go out and play!’
It never taught children anything. It wasn’t engaging, it wasn’t informative and it certainly wasn’t fun! So why did schools and the railway providers persist with it? Simple; because the railway is a dangerous place and if it isn’t treated with respect can result in tragic loss of life.
In 2011 Pompey in the Community teamed up with South West Trains, (the main provider in the city) to launch a new project called ‘Off The Rails’ The project aimed to break down the barriers of boredom and repetition. Four years later and I think it is safe to assume that the project is certainly working. Since its creation the project has worked with in the region of 8000 children within the city and its surrounding areas. That in itself is an astronomical figure but that engagement level has only been acquired thanks to the commitment from Primary schools who obviously have a firm belief in the project to believe that it really does make a difference.
Utilising the power of football through the delivery experts of Pompey in the Community have meant that the course can tap into a mainstay of the local community, an element so powerful that South West Trains couldn’t help but explore. Portsmouth Football Club, is such a central component in city life that almost anybody and everybody can relate to the club in some way. It has meant that engagement in what could be perceived by many as a dull topic is in fact, hard hitting, engaging and thought provoking.
For example: did you know that it takes the distance of 20 football pitches for a train to stop, or that the weight of a train is 400 tonnes which is in fact the weight of 80 elephants! To be honest after reading those couple of facts you can’t help but remember them!
Pompey in the Community are all about taking education to the next level and making it more engaging and inclusive for all. In honesty, I just wish that I had the same opportunities that the children have today within school, As a sports fan, a football fan, and more specifically a Pompey fan, school would have been a lot easier road (or track if you like) to journey along.
For more information on what Pompey in the Community have to offer check out http://www.pompeyitc.co.uk