Supporting vulnerable people during the pandemic has been an important cause for us on the railway.
The rail industry has come together to give people help and hope at a time when they may have felt even more isolated – and when they may have not known where to turn.
We’re proud to have supported initiatives centred on mental health and escape from domestic abuse …
There is Always Hope
The There is Always Hope campaign launched in March as new research showed a huge rise in mental health issues across Britain as a result of the pandemic.
Young people have seen their mental health deteriorate the most since the pandemic began, according to research from Network Rail and national mental health charity Chasing the Stigma.
Almost three quarters of 18-24-year-olds (69%) say covid-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health compared with 28% of over 65s. Meanwhile, almost half of Brits (48%) agreed their mental health had taken a hit since the pandemic began.
Supporting victims of domestic abuse
We extended our support to domestic abuse victims in February by leading the rail industry in implementing an Online Safe Spaces service portal on our website.
Developed by Royal Mail Group in collaboration with crisis charity Hestia and the UKSAYSNOMORE campaign, Online Safe Spaces is a virtual portal which can be installed on websites free of charge. It provides support, advice and contact services via a pop-up window, and allowing users to access resources discreetly without leaving an online history trace.
Click the Safe Spaces logo on the homepage of networkrail.co.uk to access an untraceable web page of support and helplines.
Through Women in Rail, we were brought together with early adopters including rail operator High Speed 1 (HS1) and train operator Southeastern Railway and we’re now encouraging others across the rail industry to implement the service on their websites.
Since the lockdown began in March 2020, reports of domestic abuse in the UK had increased dramatically, with charity Refuge reporting on its website a 25% increase in calls and online requests.
In November 2020, we became a White Ribbon UK-accredited organisation, demonstrating our commitment to influencing collective action to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse or violence.
Rail to Refuge
It’s a scheme in which train operators cover the cost of train tickets for women, men and children escaping domestic abuse travelling to refuge accommodation.
Rail to Refuge says on its website: “This scheme genuinely does save lives. Survivors escaping domestic abuse are usually advised to seek refuge services far away from their perpetrator, but for many, raising the cash to pay for a train ticket can be very difficult and become a barrier to seeking refuge. This is especially true for women experiencing economic abuse, who may have no access to cash.”
For more information on the scheme and how it works, please visit the Rail to Refuge FAQs.