A campaign to save lollipop ladies and men facing the axe as part of council cost-cutting has been launched by a local weekly paper.
Hundreds of people have already signed petitions against plans by the council to cut 10 lollipop patrol workers – and now the Croydon Advertiser has joined the opposition with their own petition, urging readers to help Stop the Lollipop Cuts.
The paper ran a double page spread on the campaign, featuring an interview with a lollipop man while on the job and a piece with headteachers who claim they would end up having to provide the “necessary” service themselves, either by finding the cash from their own already-tight budgets or by getting staff to carry out the patrols on top of other duties.
Senior editor Glenn Ebrey said the council’s budget is hoping to save £60,000 by making the cuts – but said the amount seemed negligible against the backdrop of £36m of savings the council needs to make over the next two years.
Said Glenn: “It doesn’t sound like it affects that many people, but what they provide to the community is invaluable and we believe it should be protected.
“This is something the headteachers, teachers, and parents think is important, and the kids themselves all love their lollipop patrols.
“More important than the sentimental side of things however is the safety they provide to children walking into school, especially at those which don’t have zebra or pelican crossings outside.”
In the spread, one lollipop man told reporter Gareth Davies how cars often speed past the school, with some regularly even swerving around him as he stands in the road.
Over the coming weeks, Glenn added, the Advertiser will be running ongoing pieces in support of the campaign, including getting the children to write to the council.
“We pride ourselves on our campaigns. While this is a very localised one, I don’t think it’s any less important – it’s an issue which is close to many people’s hearts,” he said.
Previous campaigns by the paper include the successful drive for a revision of drug-driving legislation, dubbed Lillian’s Law, following the death of 14-year-old Lillian Groves in 2010.
The driver of the car, who had been smoking cannabis, was given just eight months in prison – but after 18 months of campaigning by the girl’s family and the paper, the changes made it into the Queen’s Speech in April last year.