The Scottish FA and Network Rail have committed to working together to provide school children across Scotland with access to holiday football camps with an added bonus – teaching youngsters invaluable railway safety lessons.

By extending their existing partnership, the Scottish FA and Network Rail will continue to provide fun environments for schoolchildren to enjoy football during their school holidays while also learning about railway safety.

The camps were launched last summer across eight local authority areas where Network Rail has made significant investment in electrification across central Scotland’s railway network.

Over the course of last summer, 51 five day-long camps were delivered, providing fun football opportunities and rail safety lessons to more than 3,500 young people aged from 5-14.

As well as small-sided games and technical drills, key rail safety messages about the dangers of the railway environment were incorporated into fun activities or delivered directly by Officers from the British Transport Police (BTP).

The renewed partnership, which was launched at on eof the camps today at St Mirren's SImple Digital Arena, will see the number of camps delivered increase to more than 80 across all six of the Scottish FA’s regions. Children as young as two years old are now able to participate. while camps will now also run during school holidays in Easter and October.

Liam Sumpter, Route Director for Network Rail Scotland, said: “Scotland’s Railway is one of the safest, but we still see too many instances of youngsters trespassing on our infrastructure.

“By working with the Scottish FA, BTP and local clubs on this initiative, we can help young people improve their footballing skills while delivering the important message to stay safe and off the tracks.”

Andy Gould, Head of Football Development at the Scottish FA, said: “Since partnering with Network Rail last year we have been delighted with the response to the summer football camps, which not only keep children entertained with fun physical activity during their summer holidays, but also provide a young, eager audience to learn key messages about rail safety.

“With Network Rail’s assistance we successfully delivered more than 1,000 hours of fun football activity to children last year and we look forward to building on this great relationship to provide access to these fantastic camps to even more children across Scotland.”

To find your nearest Network Rail-supported football camp, visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/football-development/regions/