During lockdown Year 9 student, Jonah Cooper's Mum was looking at Facebook, when she spotted a national competition to promote rail safety, with a prize of a GoPro Hero8 bundle.
Jonah created a film and a script which would help other young people understand the dangers of trespassing on our railways.
In the early summer, with the UK in lockdown, many were concerned by a steep rise in railway trespass, particularly amongst 11- 18 year olds.
Community Rail Officers heard the frightening statistic from Network Rail of a 25% increase in railway trespass in the first month of lockdown and knew they could help spread the message of #StayOffTheTracks.
The competition ran from June to the end of September, with six categories and asked young people to make a film, write a song, produce a storyboard, or write a script, and enter either as an individual, or as a class or youth group. There was even a prize for the biggest impact on social media to encourage the entrants to share their work with their peers. Prizes were sponsored by Train Operating Companies and by a number of Community Rail Partnerships, with the top prize in each category being a GoPro Hero8 bundle. There were runner-up prizes too and along the way ‘spot’ prizes each month. All the winning entries have been compiled into a video, which is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFmnTmDO8DA.
Jonah snapped up first prize in the script writing category and runner up in the film category. He commented “I am extremely happy to have won a prize and really enjoyed creating a script and video for the competition. I would encourage others to create videos and write, it definitely kept me from getting bored during lockdown and I was so pleased to win such an amazing prize. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to plan my next video soon with the GoPro 8.” He is now looking forward to using the GoPro and to start has a bike ride planned.
This is not a competition where the winning entries will be neatly filed! All the work from the winners and runners up will be used by Community Rail Officers when they visit schools and youth groups to talk about rail safety. And each winning entry will be played on social media too. Lots of opportunity to continue to share the #StayOffTheTracks message. Virtual Education Network Chair Karen Bennett commented, “Young people are far more likely to take notice of a video or song created by their peers than something more corporate so we are delighted to have a catalogue of high quality resources to share with all our colleagues in the rail industry”.
Watch out for the Backtrack Competition 2021 - maybe another Hummersknott student could be a winner!