Cubs from the area were the first to enjoy a personalised session learning about safe and independent travel with volunteers from Southern.
The 1st Yapton and Ford Cub Scout Pack was provided with a specially tailored version of the award-winning Go-Learn material, which aims to encourage youngsters to travel safely on the railway.
Previously, this material had been delivered during safety events or at schools. This was the first time it had been provided as part of an extra-curricular activity.
The existing exercises and information were taken on by a group of staff who volunteer in their own time with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. It adapted to fit the way the Cub evenings normally run.
The youngsters had a great time, with adult volunteer and Cub Scout leader Katrina McAnaspie.
She said: “On behalf of the 1st Yapton and Ford Cubs, and their leaders, I would like to thank both members of Southern staff for a great evening.
“The amount of effort that they put in to getting this scheme up and running is really impressive.
“Discussing it on the way back we felt that the little books were inspired because it focused the children’s attention for far longer than one of us talking to them. It’s been a fantastic experience and they’ve all thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Cub Scout Ruby said: “I’ve learned why I shouldn’t play on the platform. We were set a challenge of looking at various signs on the station and I really enjoyed finding as many as I could.”
Cub Scout Arlen added: “We were told about the electric third rail and how it could be dangerous. It hasn’t put me off using the train though – I often travel to London with my family. The best bit of the evening though was chatting with all my mates on the train.”
The youngsters were given a talk by Nigel Wilson, Southern’s fleet operations analyst, and took part in quizzes with a Cub-related twist.
They put their knowledge into practice on a journey between Barnham and Littlehampton and they were given two booklets to complete – one an ‘I spy’ of items to look for on the journey, one to help them explore the station and look at ways in which it is safe and welcoming.
Andrew Bolton, Southern’s fleet energy manager and a Scouting leader in Reigate, led the work developing the material.
He concluded: “We’ve had a great team of Scouting volunteers that work across the business and have combined their experiences to put this programme together.
“As a result of everyone’s efforts, we’ve had some great feedback from the Cubs.
“It’s really important to all of us that we help educate young people about using the railway safely and we’re looking forward to getting it out to as many people as we can.”
Go-Learn has been delivered to almost 6,000 children during 2016 and won the engineering and safety award at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards in June.
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