No Messin'! residentials get community safety projects on track
This April twelve teams of young people from across the UK took part in an all expenses paid residential organised by Youth Scotland and Network Rail, as part of Network Rail's No Messin' programme.
The teams were selected from a large number of entrants who submitted proposals for community safety projects, and included the following five groups from Scotland; The 'Heads Up' Project from Dumbarton, Castlemilk Youth Complex, Kilbirnie Youth Action Group, Findhorn Youth Club and Dalmuir Youth Action Group.
The residential took place at Avon Tyrell, UK Youth's activity centre in the New Forest, Hampshire. As well as having the opportunity to meet other young people from across the UK, participants took part in a series of workshops and activities including raft building, problem solving activities and sessions on rail safety. The young people gained Dynamic Youth Awards for their involvement, and following the residential will be going on to deliver the projects within their own communities.
The projects taking place in Scotland include upgrading and improving a pedestrian underground walkway to improve access to the local park, a peer education programme accompanied by the production of a safety pack and the clear up of local woodlands.
"On behalf of our group we would like to say a huge thank you for the weekend we attended at The Avon Tyrrell Activity centre. Our group had a fantastic time and have returned feeling far more confident about their project and are keen to share the information learned with the Senior Group involved." said Cath Miles, worker at Llantwit Major Youth Centre Group.
"The residential helped me think in more detail into our project," said one young participant. Another young person agreed, feeding back that the residential experience "helped explain to us how we have to work as a team to get where we wanna get." "I am a lot more confident now we can work together without arguing," said another young person that attended. They also fed back that the activities in the weekend, which included a hard-hitting presentation from someone who had been affected by a rail accident, left a lasting impression.
"The talks showed us how many people have died, how dangerous it is on the track and how much you can get punished if you do go on the track."
"The young people were a credit to themselves and brought a lot of very valuable knowledge and experience back with them", Des Fik, Project Assistant, Heads Up.
Another worker commented that the residential had given the group the encouragement they need to get the project off the ground; "I feel more confident having met Network Rail people who can help us and knowing the young people are better equipped," they said. "We feel more confident now we have been given this support and are looking forward to starting our project."
In all, 14 teams are participating in the No Messin' programme. Best of luck to all groups for their projects!