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Ade was just 11 years old when British Transport Police found him alone on a train.

He was in extreme danger, but being a huge fan of railways only saw the fun he was having, not the risks he was taking. BTP made sure he was safe and took him home but asked us to follow up with him and his family.

When we first met Ade, who is autistic, it was clear he was obsessed with trains and knew everything about the models, the lines and the transport system in general – and he kept running away from home to go to the railway. The family was struggling to stop him.


No way of keeping Ade safe


Having arrived in this country as refugees they were housed in a property fraught with danger for the five children and Ade’s dad was out working all hours to support the family. His mum tried to keep the children under control but there was no fencing around the garden and not even a working lock on the front door so Ade found it easy to escape. Our project worker took Ade to the station to teach him rail safety - pointing out the hazards and explaining the potential dangers.

Despite some of the advice being hard-hitting, Ade was more interested than ever and quickly understood why BTP, his school and his family were worrying about him. We helped the family get a rail pass so they could all go on train trips together, safely, and satisfy Ade’s desire to be around the railways without him putting himself in danger.

At the same time we contacted the family’s landlord, who had just increased their rent, and insisted that some repairs were done to make the property safer for the children. He responded by doing this and also keeping the rent lower. Our team worked with Ade for four months and over that time he has not gone missing again, preferring instead to enjoy time with his family safely – either at home or on a day trip together.

*Name has been changed and models are used on these pages to protect identities.