Spreading a message of kindness this Christmas, Virgin Trains will be painting the script of iconic festive film ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ on station platforms from London to Glasgow. The script will be painted behind the yellow line that runs the length of station platforms and will use the same yellow paint.
Frank Capra’s 1946 film, which is a staple of the Christmas TV schedules, is an uplifting story of family, love, hope, and redemption. But it is also the story of one man’s struggle with a life that hasn’t gone to plan. While the film may be over 70 years old, the message is as relevant now as it has ever been.
The ‘It’s A Wonderful Line’ initiative has been developed with Virgin Trains’ charity partner, Rethink Mental Illness, in recognition of how difficult the festive period can be for some, and the positive impact that simple acts of kindness can have. The campaign will direct customers – via a URL embedded in the script – to information, advice, and support around mental health.
The initiative will be rolled out along the Virgin Trains West Coast route, with the film’s message of goodwill painted across station platforms in towns and cities that include London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow.
Over 7.5km of script will be painted over 14 nights in 14 locations, all of which are listed below along with the date the script will be on the platform.
Rethink Mental Illness has worked with Virgin Trains since May 2017, training its people in how to deal with mental health issues that they might experience during their working day and in their personal life. This includes encouraging colleagues to talk about mental health, providing best advice on where to seek help and better equipping them to identify and support other people, such as passengers, who might be struggling.
Natasha Grice, executive director of people at Virgin Trains, said: “It’s A Wonderful Life is a story of hope, redemption and kindness, which teaches us that having someone there for you when you need it the most is one of the greatest gifts you can
"Many of our people have been personally affected by the issues raised in this campaign or know someone who has been. This is why we wanted to get as many of our staff involved as possible, working to create a message of kindness that will touch as many of our customers as we can. We want everyone to know there’s help out there, and that if you’re not affected by poor mental health, it’s really easy to help someone who is.”
James Fletcher, head of corporate partnerships at Rethink Mental Illness said: “It is vital at this time of year to let people know that help is available if they need it. We have worked closely with Virgin Trains for the last two years to help raise funds so that more people can access support in communities along the West Coast network. This campaign highlights the need for this support at a time of the year which can be difficult for some of us, and we are proud to be part of it.”
Lisbeth Fromling, chief health & safety officer at Network Rail, said: “The ‘It’s A Wonderful Line’ initiative being delivered by Virgin Trains and Rethink Mental illness is another great example of the rail industry seeking to support those in need in the
communities it serves. It is especially poignant at this time of the year when some of the most vulnerable in society can find themselves particularly isolated. It is to be hoped that upon reading the lines from the film or even watching it, passengers will remember that from time to time everyone needs a little help and that they will be inspired to give it when the time presents itself.”
Throughout December, customers will also be able to watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ on ‘Beam 1’, Virgin Trains’ on-board free entertainment service. Volunteers from Rethink Mental Illness will be fundraising at Virgin Trains stations throughout the campaign period.
All of the painting will be completed by Bagnalls, Virgin Trains’ painting partner of 10 years, with help from Manchester-based Laser Cutting Services, which custom-manufactured the stencils for the painting.
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