Community Rail organises confidence building workshop

Three women sitting at a bus stop.

A group of Pakistani ladies from Tinsley recently took part in a travel workshop to learn more about the railways and catching the train, building their confidence before embarking on a guided train trip to Elsecar.

Delivered by SYMCA Community Rail, with the support of Northern and Darnall Well Being, the workshop and trip aimed to connect local people with the railways in a supported and safe way, while bringing people together and showcasing the interesting and scenic places on our local network.

Community Rail Officer Cathrine Ashworth, who organised the workshop and the journey, said “Most of the group have spent years caring for relatives, with limited social connections or experience of travelling independently, so this was an exciting opportunity for them to learn new skills, see new places and perhaps make new friends.

“The women taking part were really open about their concerns of feeling safe while travelling by train on their own.

“They also wanted to learn about destinations you can reach easily by train from Meadowhall – their nearest station – and how to buy good value tickets and find new places to enjoy walks.

“Their confidence was low as most women had never travelled by train. Our aim was to boost it by looking into what makes them nervous and what support is available.”


During the workshop, the group was introduced to the local rail network, taught how to read network maps, where to find times and ticketing information, and started planning their upcoming trip to Elsecar.

“We’ve also spent a lot of time talking about safety as that was a big concern for the group – how to stay safe while waiting at the station, how to board the train safely, where to ask for help and train etiquette in general”, says Cat.

The rail journey itself happened a week later, on Thursday 27 July, when the group met at Meadowhall station for a tour of the key facilities before boarding the train to Elsecar.

“After a short, pleasant train ride, we arrived at Elsecar for a scenic walk to the Heritage Centre, where we learned about its ironmaking and coalmining history, visited the independent shops and workshops and stopped for coffee”, says Cat.

“The group were surprised at how easy it was to get to the village of Elsecar from Tinsley. They liked the journey so much that they are already planning the next one, with their families.”

SYMCA’s Customer Services Manager Heather Roberts joined them for the journey, supporting Cat in keeping the group together. “It was great to have Heather with me on the day, she was a natural at engaging with the group and putting them at ease”, concludes Cat.

If you’re interested in volunteering to support a future Community Rail event, please get in touch by emailing