Skip to Main Content

The impact of Railway Children's Mystery Shopper project

Railway Children exists for children and young people. So it follows that young people should be at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we recently launched our mystery shopper project to ensure young people have a direct impact on the services that affect them.  

Publish date:


Keeping young people at the heart of our work

Our Mystery Shopper project is the first of its kind on the UK rail network, and it’s something that many of the young people involved in our youth participation team have been keen to get involved in. 

As part of the scheme, young people volunteer to go undercover and then feed their findings back on how youth-friendly trains and train stations are. As part of their remit, they looked at issues around safety, safeguarding, support and accessibility. 

David Bentley, Learning and Participation Manager at Railway Children said:

“The idea of the Mystery Shopper project is to work with train companies to ensure the UK rail network is safe, supportive and sympathetic to the needs of children and young people."

With two Mystery Shopper projects now complete and young people’s recommendations submitted to rail companies, the project is playing a pivotal role in ensuring our railways are a safe space for children. 

A two-way street

But it’s not just about what these young people can do for Railway Children: through their involvement in the programme, young people are developing skills and experiences to help them in the workplace.  

Elizabeth*, one of the young people involved in the scheme, said: 

"Youth participation is good to help expand your knowledge. It lets you explore new places while, at the same time, helping other young people."

For Sam*, who has a lifelong interest in trains, being part of our Youth Association programme and influencing how young people can stay safe on the railways has helped him progress to a job working on the tracks. He said:

"The skills and experience I gained have been a huge factor in me gaining my first job. Now I’m putting them to good use and want to ensure other young people have the same chances and positive experiences I had."

Give a gift today and help us change even more lives

...could pay for an hour of one-to-one support for a vulnerable child or young person when they need it most.

Donate £25 >

...could pay to run one of our Youth Participation forums, ensuring young people get their voices heard.

Donate £250 >

...could pay for a family to receive two days vital support from a Railway Children worker.

Donate £176 >

*Names changed to protect identities.