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Rail Safety and Leadership Skills | Morson at West Freestyle Martial Arts

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James Kenealey morson blog

Morson Vital Training has used its sponsorship of a grassroots youth martial arts club as a vehicle to educate students about rail safety.

West Freestyle Martial Arts in Rawtenstall, Lancashire delivers martial arts and boxing-style training to young people, keeping them fit and embedding fundamental skills from a young age, like teamwork, motivation, leadership and discipline. Importantly, the training also benefits the health and wellbeing of the students.

Lindsey Taylor, one of the trainers at the club, said "the main thing I think it's done for children is to bring self-esteem. We've had a lot of parents who've said they wouldn't speak in school and they've gone to parents evening and teachers have said that they've seen a massive difference and now they're at the front. Health and safety is a big one too, knowing they've got an understanding of how to run a gym."

There is also a cadet leadership programme at the gym. "We started the programme probably a year ago. It's for those children who want that responsibility, who are naturally good at it and be good role models for the younger ones - as well as those who are at a good belt level and can help the children. It helps us out as coaches too. Children can pad-hold, for example. The programme really gives great life skills in terms of how to speak to the little ones, speaking to parents about what they're doing."It's great for peer mentoring too, so if a student is at a particular belt, the cadet would be able to tell them what they would need to do to get to the next one."

"We like to embed that we're a family and a team, that nobody is better than anyone else even though they're a higher belt."

MVT took the opportunity to take the Morson Vital Safety Unit along to the club to talk to the children about their rail safety. The fun, interactive event focused on level crossing training and general safety around the railway. 

HSE advisor Jane Hepburn delivered the talk and said: “We want our young people to become safety conscious adults when using the rail network and that means understanding the dangers present. The children were so engaged in what we had to say, giving them first-hand insight into the dangers around the railway- particularly electricity- the roots of risky behaviour and how peer pressure can impact their decision making. It really drove home these important safety messages.”