Meet the Govia Thameslink Railway volunteer who is looking out for society’s most vulnerable

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Luton-based passenger host Abby-Rose Boon.

Govia Thameslink Railway – Jun 03, 2020 12:18 BST

A team of caring railway volunteers are doing their bit to help keep people safe at a time when many are at their most vulnerable due to Covid-19.

The volunteers, who all work for Govia Thameslink Railway, have roles that would normally see them out and about on the network. But due to the current pandemic, some of their duties have been restricted and they have instead volunteered to help monitor GTR’s vast network of CCTV cameras.

GTR – which operates Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services, has created a satellite CCTV suite in East Croydon so that these extra eyes can look out for any vulnerable people at stations, as well as any antisocial behaviour or hazards to people’s welfare, and raise the alarm with the appropriate authorities, such as the British Transport Police.

The train operator’s CCTV is already manned 24/7 and the role of the volunteers is to bolster surveillance at a time when more people are likely to be feeling vulnerable. Already, there have been 11 occasions in the last six weeks where a vulnerable person has been identified as being in need of assistance.

Luton-based passenger host Abby-Rose Boon, who has worked on the railway for 13 years, is one such volunteer. The 30-year-old from Luton said: “I have always wanted to do CCTV monitoring; I find it quite fascinating. I work alongside the BTP in my current role and it’s interesting to see the other side of the job. I’m keeping the railway network safe for the key workers who need to travel, and it’s been really rewarding helping out.”

In March this year, GTR established its Caring for the Vulnerable initiative with a focus on ensuring employees, customers and communities felt protected and supported where possible. The initiative includes a programme of activities to help people stay connected. GTR’s Head of Security and Emergency Resilience Tony Holland said: “At a time of great national challenge, it’s important to not only ensure key workers can travel by train and do the incredible work they do, but to also reach out and support those who may need our help too.”