Strength in numbers

Network Rail own and operate the railway infrastructure in England, Wales and Scotland on behalf of the Nation. That’s no small feat as this includes 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and viaducts and thousands of tunnels, signals, level crossings and points. If that is not a big enough job Network Rail also manages rail timetabling and 20 of the largest stations across England, Scotland and Wales.

Booklet cover to illustrate text

Samaritans, a registered charity aims at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline. On average, Samaritans responds to a call for help every six seconds.

That’s 600 times an hour and means more than 14,000 people rely on their support every single day. With the Samaritans services being used more than ever, Network Rail wanted to offer their help – because after all, strength is in numbers!

Booklet spread to illustrate text
Million Hour Challenge image of rail worker to illustrate text

Interesting challenge…

The Million Hour Challenge was conceived by Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways and aims to bring together the rail industry, volunteering one million hours for Samaritans between April 2019 and March 2024. 

“We want to bring about a rail industry culture where it is normal to keep an eye out for colleagues and ask about their wellbeing. We want an open culture of support and caring – for it to be part of our DNA.”– Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways

Research has also demonstrated that people who volunteer through work are happier, healthier and more engaged with their employer. Those who volunteer experience greater mental and physical health, gain confidence, new skills and a more balanced lifestyle.

That’s a very compelling story to tell, but where and how do you even begin to tell it?

Although the partnership between Network Rail and Samaritans is long-standing, neither had the inhouse expertise of planning, designing and executing a campaign of this scale so the duo needed an agency to come in and lead the initiative, taking all points of view into consideration in order to provide a considered and holistic output that would ultimately deliver.

Million Hour Challenge booklet spread to illustrate text
Million Hour Challenge booklet spread to illustrate text
Million Hour banner stand image to illustrate text

Clear Thinking

We worked closely with key contacts at both Network Rail and Samaritans, listening to their objectives for driving awareness of the initiative, increasing visits to the Million Hour Challenge website for volunteer sign ups and to encourage positive behavioural change by setting a target of reaching One Million Hours of volunteered time. In doing so, we were able to suggest the most suitable campaign identity to ensure effective dual branding.

From there we began to devise a plan to engage the right communication pathways and touchpoints to deliver clarity in hierarchy and messaging for ongoing campaign communication which would be set over a period of 3 years.

A major challenge for us initially was to try and determine the cascading flow of information to not only engage with brand ambassadors in the first instance, but as a secondary step, provide the ambassador with a practical plan and toolkit that they could easily run with to raise awareness and ensure that their co-workers signed up to volunteer scheme. 

From onboarding packs to leaflets, banners, email templates and much more, we developed a holistic suite of assets for Phase 1 of the campaign to meet the objectives of increasing volunteer sign ups and really start chipping into that One Million Hour goal.

Real Results

As we speak the hours of Network Rail volunteer work through fundraising, cake and bake sales, karaoke nights, raffles, sports tournaments, singing, listening volunteers, and completion of the Million Hour wellbeing Toolkits are totting up!!

Do keep checking in as we share vital information on how much traffic we have driven to the Million Hour Challenge website since campaign launch, the amount of volunteer sign ups the challenge has received and the number of hours volunteered.  

Million Hour Challenge presentation screen to illustrate text
Million Hour Challenge e-mail to illustrate text
“One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time and we are honoured to have been able to give our time to Network Rail and Samaritans on such an exciting campaign. We look forward to seeing the initiative in action.”
Million Hour Changes leaflet to illustrate text
“Thank you Anne and it's been great working with you on this project. You've been really helpful!”
Gemma Howe, Project Leader for Million Hour Challenge
Back to top