Rail company Great Northern and anti-bullying charity Red Balloon have joined forces to help prevent possible child bullying on stations and trains.
As part of Anti-Bullying Week this week (14-18 November), Dr Carrie Herbert ran an awareness session for staff at Hitchin station (high resolution pictures are available). Dr Herbert is founder of Cambridge-based Red Balloon which specialises in helping severely bullied children who are temporarily unable to attend school.
Dr Herbert has also trained up Year 10 pupils at Linton Village College in South Cambridgeshire to be Travel Ambassadors so they can support younger children they may see being bullied.
Marc Edwards, Hitchin Station Manager, said: "The session we had on Monday was very informative for the staff and it helped open our eyes, and understand situations that maybe we and others get ourselves into without knowing. It has helped staff to identify these situations and learn how to deal with them."
Dr Herbert added: "It is exciting to be working with an organisation like Great Northern that understands how important it is to deal with bullying directly, to make sure young people can get to school and college and back home safely, and know that they can ask for help from a member of Great Northern staff who will understand and take the issue seriously. I look forward to working more with the rail staff and Travel Ambassadors next year."
The staff session focused on helping the group spot the signs of bullying between youngsters and developed their understanding of what they could do to help. The training followed similar sessions run by Dr Herbert with staff from other Great Northern and Thameslink stations and depots.
The Travel Ambassador scheme was successfully trialled with Linton Village College earlier this year and was so well received the school invited Dr Herbert back recently to train more
students and give her a chance to catch up with the previous cohort.
Susan Gelder, Assistant Principal, at Linton Village College, added: “The students gained a huge amount from this thought-provoking session with Carrie. It was wonderful to see how our students engaged with the ideas and were really made to consider their previous ideas about bullying.”
Great Northern and Thameslink Passenger Services Director Stuart Cheshire said: “We have had no evidence of bullying being a problem on our services but it’s very important to us that our passengers, especially youngsters, are able to travel on our services with confidence.
"I’m really pleased that Carrie is able to help our staff spot the signs and understand what they can do if bullying does occur. It’s wonderful that we are also able to take this message into schools and make a real difference. I thank Carrrie for her excellent work and support.”
Anyone interested in holding a Travel Ambassadors session at their school should email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information email email@example.com or call the Thameslink and Great Northern press office: 0203 750 2031
Notes to editors
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
• Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
• Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
• Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
• Gatwick Express – Fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is now the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, employs around 6,500 people and generates annual passenger revenues of approximately £1.3bn.
The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.
southernrailway.com, gatwickexpress.com, thameslinkrailway.com greatnorthernrail.com