The project, run in partnership with the National Citizen Service, Notts County FC, East Midlands Railway and the Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership, is designed to help students from migrant families who do not speak English as their first language to feel confident enough to use railways.
The 15 students, who are currently attending Nottingham College to learn English, toured Nottingham station and learned how to buy tickets, read timetables and find the correct platform.
Having lived in the UK for as little as a few months, the 16 to 18-year-olds also took their first train trip in the UK, travelling to Skegness last Monday where they tucked into fish and chips before heading down to the beach. On Tuesday they helped complete a piece of mural artwork in Sleaford on the wall of the railway underpass at King Edward Street, based on local landmarks, its RAF heritage and trains. They worked with urban artists James and Luke from Imageskool.
Funding for the project was provided by EMR and the Poacher Line CRP, who provided the students with goody bags of Christmas treats.
Siavash, 18, from Iran, said: “I found it really useful and I now have the confidence to travel on a train on my own. The trains are more modern than in Iran and less crowded so better to travel on.”
Razim, 18, originally from Bangladesh, said being guided through the process has made him more confident to use the train in the future.
Jo Andrews, community rail officer for the Poacher Line said: “We are pleased we could offer a rewarding experience to these young people who have never been on a train before in the UK or had not been to the beach. The weather was against us but the students had a wonderful time and we now have an amazing piece of artwork on the subway at Sleaford.