Community Sponsors Found For School Crossing Patrols
11:16am 5th May 2012
Four aggregate companies, whose huge lorries regularly pass Bere Regis First School, have demonstrated their commitment to community safety by teaming up to sponsor the school crossing patrol.
Bere Regis First School is one of five first and primary schools across the county to have school crossing patrols sponsored by the local community. Schools and crossing patrol staff met the sponsors for the first time at Wool CE VA First School to celebrate the new arrangement.
Swanage Town Council had been sponsoring a patrol since 2006 and is continuing under the new arrangements. Shaftesbury Town Council, Valley Taxis and Zog Brownfields Ventures Ltd sponsor crossings at Shaftesbury Primary School and Corfe Castle and Wool First Schools.
The five sponsored sites lost their council funding when Dorset County Council agreed to adopt national criteria for funding school crossing patrols and stop funding patrols at zebra and puffin crossings.
Sponsors pay the patrols’ salaries, usually £2,000-£3,000 a year, with the council picking up the management costs.
Egdon Heath councillor Alex Brenton helped recruit the Purbeck sponsors. She said:
“If you want communities involved, you have to make it easy for them. We have found that by Dorset County Council maintaining responsibility for the patrols’ management and any future redundancy costs, sponsors are coming forward.”
Andrews Plant is one of the aggregate companies sponsoring Bere Regis First School. Peter Andrews said:
“We use the road by the school all the time so it’s only right that we should make the kids’ safety top priority.”
Lee Thompson of Raymond Brown said:
“It’s a community issue that we are delighted to support. We will always welcome the opportunity to promote health and safety in and outside the workplace."
Barbara Battrick has been helping children at Wool First School cross the road safely for 21 years. Pupils there were delighted that she was going to stay.
Wool First School chairman of the governors Andrew Wilson said:
“This sponsorship arrangement gives a strong message that communities can and should help themselves. Overcoming the prejudice against commercial sponsorship is the way forward.”
County council cabinet member for highways Peter Finney said:
“The financial situation has meant we have had to make difficult decisions. Reducing the number of school crossing patrols has been one of the most painful. I am absolutely delighted that these communities have worked together to keep their crossing patrols. I hope we can encourage other sponsors to come forward.”
The council still fully funds 51 crossing patrols across the county, which meet national criteria. Vacancies are currently available in Dorchester. Charminster and Verwood. For more information, ring Rob Camp on 01305 224548.