Figures collected by Railtrack for the areas around Tottenham show a 20 per cent reduction in the number of rail related crimes.
The original community scheme has rapidly developed over the past few years, with the help of a range of different sponsors, and we are now in a position to deliver a bigger and better programme.
The success of the project is due to the combination of four key factors: targeting, timing, location and partnership.
The Football in the Community scheme is able to carefully target schools and communities and tailor the talks to the national curriculum. In the visits we talk, not only about the dangers of the railway, but also general health and safety and the advantages of sport.
It has also been recognised that the most effective times to prevent children carrying out route crime is between 3pm and 7pm weekdays during school term time and between 10am and 5pm everyday during the holidays. We, therefore, focus our schemes during these 'critical' times.
The scheme is concentrated in and around well-known hotspots, which have been identified by the Railtrack. These areas include schools and youth organisations within a one-mile radius of the Liverpool Street to Saffron Walden route including the Enfield, Chingford and Hertford Branch Lines.
Support from the West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN) train company has assisted greatly with getting children to and from venues and now AMEC, our contractor, has shown an interest in joining the alliance.
Together, we have set up a steering group that will develop and enhance the programme to improve the community and youth club scheme. This involves professional coaches attending and giving educational talks, as well as holding a football knock out competition. The alliance has also commissioned an anti-crime liveried train highlighting the partnership between Railtrack, WAGN and Spurs.
Over the coming year we hope to invite other interested parties who may also be able to add to the scheme. For instance, we have approached the British Transport and local civil police, community centres and the probation service, to help with the scheme not only through football events but also through health and safety talks and, in some cases, work experience.
For more information about Football in the Community, contact the FITC office on 020 8365 5049.
Railtrack is a sponsor of Spurs' Football in the Community scheme. Now in the second year of the partnership, we are already seeing the difference in the number of crimes committed on and around the railway.