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Protecting The School Crossing Patrol Service

October 26, 2013 9:20 AM

Mayor Dave Hodgson Welcomes School Crossing Patrol Staff to the Mayor's Parlour to Mark Crossing Patrols' Diamond Jubilee 2013

The fight to protect frontline services here in Bedford Borough in the face of the unprecedented, extraordinary funding crisis for local government is a vital one, as we are simply not prepared to allow the sort of widespread cuts seen in many other areas to happen here.

This fight continues from week to week, as we work to identify and deliver savings in Borough Hall rather than out in the community, and we received further recognition recently from a national charity for our success in protecting one particular front line service. Living Streets, which campaigns in the interests of pedestrians and their safety, has singled out Bedford Borough Council for our commitment to saving lollipop men and women.

Living Streets launched a national campaign this year in response to cuts to school crossing patrols by local authorities around the country which have faced the same sort of funding cuts and growing demand for services seen here in Bedford Borough.

We have worked successfully to save all twenty one school crossing patrols in the borough, and after I welcomed their campaign which promotes to local authorities the excellent work that the patrols do, Living Streets' Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: "We're delighted to have Mayor Hodgson's support for this important campaign and Bedford Borough Council's commitment to ensuring local children can enjoy a safe passage to school.

"At a time when a generation's long term health is potentially in jeopardy through inactivity, the walk to school is an easy way to build some physical exercise into a child's day.

"Lollipop men and women are invaluable members of the community helping to keep our children safe today to ensure they have a healthier future."

I couldn't agree more Tony. 2013 is the Diamond Jubilee of the School Crossing Patrol in Britain, and in the summer I hosted a celebration event for all of the Borough's crossing patrol staff. This photo was taken on the day of the event, where I was delighted to present commemorative certificates and badges to all of the staff, including Joan Loft, who has performed the role for a remarkable 39 years and counting!

The work that the crossing patrol staff do day, in day out on behalf of children and families across the Borough is invaluable. They are out in all weathers, stepping out in front of traffic on often very busy roads and ensuring the children can cross safely. That's why following the lead of a number of other areas and seeking to remove patrols is simply not an option for us.

This may be just one of many front line services we have protected in the face of the extraordinary funding pressures for the Council, but it's certainly very important to those many children and families it benefits through the school year. Living Streets knows how important it is, hence its recognition of the commitment to protecting lollipop men and women in Bedford Borough.