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First ‘Feel Good Field Trip’ a success for Community Rail Lancashire

Community Rail Lancashire has delivered the first in a series of ‘Feel Good Field Trips’ in partnership with Avanti West Coast.

The ‘Feel Good Field Trip’ campaign is a new initiative in which Avanti aims to provide new opportunities and experiences to thousands of school children aged 4-18. Pupils that participate in the scheme are given the chance to travel across the West Coast Main Line for hands-on learning and fun, culturally diverse days out.

On Tuesday 6 December, David Savage, Community Rail Officer at Community Rail Lancashire and lead on the ‘Feel Good Field Trips’ project, took Year 3 pupils and teachers from Anchorsholme Academy on Northern and Avanti trains from Blackpool to visit Bolton Wanderers. For many of the children, this was their first time on a train.

Upon arrival, the pupils were given a tour of the stadium, including a sky-high trip up to the gantry where they could get a birds eye view of the whole stadium. They were given the opportunity to roleplay as football managers for post-match interviews in the BWFC Media Suite, where they also learnt the roles and responsibilities of journalists and match-day press.

Everyone then gathered in the Hall of Fame hospitality suite for lunch, before the pupils engaged in an interactive presentation outlining what makes a good leader and the importance of teamwork. The pupils were left to delegate their own roles to create their very own football club, including crest, kits and stadium design.

Once everyone had presented their work, the students were surprised with a visit by Bolton Wanderers centre-back George Johnston. George was eager to make the children’s trip memorable, but was also there to reinforce the trip’s message that teamwork and leadership are two core values that helped him to get to where he is today.

George Johnston with the pupils.

Speaking of the Feel Good Field Trips project, David Savage said: “As a former Geography teacher, I appreciate the importance of learning outside the classroom. It allows students a unique cultural learning experience that takes them out of their comfort zone, boosting confidence and independence. It is so important for children to see more than what is just local to them.

“When the pandemic hit, all school field trips stopped. Even though pupils are now back in lessons, many schools are struggling to take groups out due to the rising cost of living. This project will give thousands of pupils an opportunity to go out on a trip, some of them travelling on a train for the first time. 

“My role is to work with Avanti West Coast and schools with a high number of pupil premium to create these unique fieldtrips along the West Coast Main Line. Some of the visits include a tour to the top of the Royal Liver Building, pottery making in Stoke on Trent, cooking a curry and naan bread at a cookery school near Stockport, art workshops in Coventry, outdoor education in the Lake District, recording poetry and music at a recording studio in London and many more. I will also be delivering rail safety sessions to students participating in this initiative.

“I am so pleased that the first Feel Good Field Trip was such a success. The staff at Bolton Wanderers in the Community were fantastic, and the kids loved the Avanti train driver giving them a toot as he arrived in Preston, and the Northern conductor checking all the train tickets which the kids had made. The whole team are very much looking forward to more trips in 2023.”