Friday, 25 March 2011

House of Commons Debate Transcript

Click here to view the discussion about School Crossing Patrols in the House of Commons.

School Crossing Patrols and Sustainable Travel

This is what the Whitepaper on Sustainable Transport has to say on page 30...
The Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), which will provide £560 million of revenue and capital funding (£350 million revenue, £210 million capital) to enable local authorities to bid for funding to support the delivery of sustainable measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon emissions, delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity.
I sincerely believe that SCPs are part of the existing sustainable transport structure and their removal will lead to more parents taking children to school in the car. This will obviously lead to an increase in carbon emissions and a lessening of physical activity. I therefore believe every local authority should be applying for this funding on these grounds. Even if every county in the country applied for a grant for SCPs is will only be a small fraction of £560 million and the children will be safe.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

BBC Politics Show

The item about the Dorset School Crossing Patrols that was filmed last week for the BBC Politics Show will probably now go out on Sunday 3rd April according to the show's producer Chris Lyddon. Unfortunately it is a regional item so won't benefit counties such as Suffolk where the whole School Crossing Patrol team is on 90 days notice.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What this campaign needs is...

A Lego Minifigure is what is needed. There are figures for every other role in life but no Lollipop People. I have contacted Lego but since it is a little like getting into Fort Knox you can't find a human contact point. So I left a 'fill in the boxes email'. Please if anyone reading this knows anyone who is not a 'robot' at Lego please pass on our request.

Kwik Fit launch petition to help support Lollipop People

Kwik Fit have launched a petition to help support Lollipop People please follow this link to add you support to their campaign.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Lollipop patrols: Campaign praised by transport chief

The Bournemouth Echo has given a good account of what took place in Parliament last week. Annette Brooke and Richard Drax spoke of their concerns about the School Crossing Patrol cuts to Norman Baker Under Secretary of State for Transport.
Mr Baker acknowledged that local authorities have a general duty under the Road Traffic Act to promote road safety and to take measures to prevent accidents.
He said both MPs were ‘eloquent and persuasive’ in their arguments and he paid tribute to the ‘much-loved’ lollipop men and women who he said played such a ‘crucial’ role.
Regarding Mrs Brooke’s speech, Mr Baker said: “She has put together a compelling case and I believe Dorset County Council will reflect very carefully indeed on her remarks and those of Mr Drax.”
Full story here

Friday, 18 March 2011

In the News Today

Earlier this week whilst taking part in a local BBC Radio show presented by children, Toni Combe Dorset County Council Briefholder for Children's services said that in the event that neither volunteers or community funding could be found then Dorset County Council will continue to pay for the School Crossing Patrols service. The BBC has considered her statement to be a reprieve or even a U turn from the council and this morning interviewed parents and children at Holy Trinity about the response to the good news. We are slightly cynical but as this follows the statements of support for the service made by our MPs it will be hard for Councillors to keep taking the hard line. This will be a news item on BBC Spotlight at 6.30pm.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Yesterday in Parliament

A very big thank you to both Annette Brooke and Richard Drax, Dorset MPs for putting the case for the retention of the School Crossing Patrols so clearly and persuasively to Norman Baker the Under Secretary of State for Transport. I hope that Dorset County Councillors pay attention to the recommendation of the Minister that they use central guidance on Best Practice with regard to road safety and take their road safety responsibilities very seriously as well as listening to the comments and concerns of Ms Brooke and Mr Drax. To watch the debate follow this link
The debate starts at about 16.50. The recommendations of the minister are relevant to every County Council or Town Council across the country who is contemplating these cuts. It is up to everyone to bring these recommendations to the notice of their local MPs and Councillors. Common sense may yet prevail.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

ITV news coverage

ITV Meridian did an interview yesterday with one of the Holy Trinity Lollipop Ladies, Dawn Moriarty, they also spoke to parents and children and Dorset Road Safety Officer, Rob Camp. This item will be part of their regional evening news at 6.00pm today.

BBC Politics Show Interview

This morning I gave an interview to a very nice gentleman from the BBC, John Henderson, who came over from Devon to film the Walking Bus going to Holy Trinity and using the Lollipop Lady on the very busy Buxton Road. We then returned home for an interview where I explained a little of the history of the Save Our Lollipop People campaign and what the aims are. It was very nerve racking and I hope I made a persuasive case for keeping the Crossing Patrols and somehow protecting them for the future. I really need a coffee now.

Monday, 14 March 2011

A Voice in Parliament

On Wednesday pm, North Dorset Lib Dem MP, Annette Brooke will be speaking in a half hour 'adjournment debate' in the Westminister Hall in Parliament, about the School Crossing Patrols and the effects of the cuts on the service. She will be asking questions of a minister, though which one I do not know at the moment. Fingers crossed for a change of direction on this matter.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Parliamentary Advisory Council For Transport Safety (PACT)

A report has just been published by PACT. The report called 'Tackling the Deficit' reports on the effects on national road safety in light of the cuts to spending. This is a summary of the report.
Budget cuts threaten to reverse road casualty reduction
Britain should be braced for a possible increase in the number of road deaths because of cuts to the road safety budget and traffic growth caused by economic recovery.
Nine out of ten road safety professionals think reduced spending is going to harm road safety projects and over half believe a loss of expertise will mean there will be no further falls in the number of casualties.
When asked for their more detailed opinion a number of respondents wrote that they feared the amount of those killed and injured could actually rise.
The report concludes it is vital that government sets out a firm strategy for road safety over the next decade in its forthcoming Strategic Road Safety Framework. The previous ten-year plan came to an end in March 2010. A strong commitment from central government to preventing death and injury on the roads will encourage councils to spend a fair share of their reduced budgets on cutting casualties rather than diverting it to other services which they believe better reflects the view in Whitehall.
 Follow this link to read the full report.

I am only a concerned mother but I think this advice is saying don't cut the lollipop people just to save money!

An Important Fact If You Are Fighting Cuts in Your Area

In Many County Council's across the UK it is now the requirement to discuss a petition subject in a full council meeting if the submitted Petition has more than 1000 signtures. If you submit a petition you will also be able to speak about the petition and put your case. Please check your individual county website and search for 'petitions' for exact terms.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Today in the Daily Telegraph Newspaper

In the Daily Telegraph today Mr Penning, Minister for Road Safety had this to say about the School Crossing Patrol Service cuts...
“We are committed to improving road safety,” he said.
"The importance of tackling the country’s deficit means that we have had to make tough decisions in all areas of our spending.
“However, we have also removed ring-fencing from local authority grants so that councils are able to set their own priorities.
“We would expect that road safety would remain a priority for local communities and that local spending would reflect that.
"Tackling child road casualties is a priority and we have launched a new initiative targeting those areas with higher than average child road casualty rates to help children stay safe on the roads.”
I have written to Mr Penning suggesting that a petition put before the Welsh Assembly had the right idea.
We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to make it a condition of acceptance of any Welsh Assembly Government Transport Grant, that the relevant council continues to employ School Crossing Patrols to safeguard our children. In particular, maintaining the existing number and location of patrols as existed in 2010 and that the status of these patrols not change unless approved by the majority of parents at the relevant schools.
 The arguments behind this petition are simple:
  • central govt funding to local councils for transport (includes pedestrians) is designed to improve it; make it safer and more effiecient.
  • Obviously safety is the number one criteria
  • transport grants include safer routes to schools
  • Removing lollipop persons makes transport more dangerous i.e. the opposite of improvement
  • Thus there should be no transport grants of any type from cental govt to local councils where they are acting to make things more dangerous by removing lollipop persons
This all sounds sensible to me, but I'm not sure that common sense plays much part in governing. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


I think maybe this blog is getting a bit too full of facts and I think its high time I included the real  faces of the wonderful people that are threatened by the cuts around the country without whom our children would not get to school safely. If you are a Lollipop Person or you have one at your local school please can you send me a photo and a little bit about (yourself) them because I would like to put them on a 'wall of fame'. Send an email with photo attachment to
One of the downsides of the campaign is that the very people that need to be helped Our Lollipop People are often people who do not have access to a computer.  Therefore if you are a parent, teacher or member of school staff and you have a valued school crossing person please take the time to invite them into school and show them that there is a campaign taking place on their behalf.

And so the cuts go on...but its not all doom and gloom.

Yesterday I learnt that in Exeter they are facing cuts to the lollipop service. I spoke to a local councillor there and offered support. I also spoke to a parish councillour in Derbyshire again facing cuts.
On a lighter note, Sustrans say they hope to link with my campaign for their new 'Free Range Kids' campaign which is starting in May with its own website. Also there is hope that we can join with the national Unison 'Million Voices' campaign, (discussion still ongoing). I will join up the dots and we will stop children being killed in this country, just to save money!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Dorset Community Action

On Monday I was invited to take part in a A Dorset Community Action 'Surviving the Cuts' conference and workshops. I was there to share my experiences of campaigning and in particular using the social networking facilities to contact and inform. I hope therefore that those visiting this site as a result of Monday's conference have been inspired in some way. I was acutely aware whilst at the conference that it was directed at the large number of volunteering groups that exist in the county and provide invaluable services for everything from the homeless through to disabled; friends of the libraries; mental health support; and even Horses inform people. I on the other hand was there to talk about how I am campaigning to stop a service being turned over to volunteers because its not suitable. I did raise this with many that I talked to on the day and their unanimous opinion was that it was not a service that they would consider should be done by volunteers. I enjoyed the day and learned many useful things, some of which I wish I had learnt 2 months ago, but that's life! Thank you to the organisers who themselves have had their ranks depleted by cuts and I strongly advise anyone running a voluntary organisation within Dorset to make sure you utilise their help and advice.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Passing the Buck

At the beginning of this campaign year some Holy Trinity year 6 children and I wrote to David Cameron about our concerns about the Lollipop People being threaten by cuts. The reply from No. 10 was 'thank you for writing, very sorry but not our problem, have referred this to the Department of Transport and the Department of Education'. The DofT reply finally came through and throws the responsibility back to the local authorities and can't help. But since the local authorities are only making these cuts because the cuts from government have been so severe surely there is a responsibility at the top? I think I feel a letter to the Queen coming on, perhaps she could remind her prime minister of his responsibilities to the children of this country.

Sustrans a Leading Sustainable Travel Charity Say..

Sustrans supports school crossing patrols. They provide a vital service for children walking and cycling to school. If these are taken away, we may see a decline in the number of children travelling actively to school and the council may still have to find funds for an alternative form of crossing in the absence of a lollipop person.”

Sustrans School Travel Director, Paul Osborne