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Barking and Dagenham lollipop patrols to be axed after Easter

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 January 2017

Lollipop lady Marie Douglas with Dave Whittaker and Lauren Furness from TEB builders.

Lollipop lady Marie Douglas with Dave Whittaker and Lauren Furness from TEB builders.

Archant

Lollipop staff will have to lay down their signs as the endangered service is finally axed.

The council-funded service is to end at the end of the financial year, meaning there are unlikely to be any patrols when children return to school after Easter.The council-funded service is to end at the end of the financial year, meaning there are unlikely to be any patrols when children return to school after Easter.

Next term, the 20 existing patrollers will not return to work, Barking and Dagenham council leader Darren Rodwell confirmed on Thursday.

The £165,000-a-year annual service would be over at the “end of March”, he said.

“We want the service to be delivered, we just can’t afford to pay for it,” he said.

An end to the council-funded service was announced in October 2014. But despite a consultation on 11 of the roles, all 25 were kept after a campaign in the Post.

After a number of staff took voluntary redundancy, the reamining jobs are also set to go. Pat Fredericks, 69, has worked as a lollipop lady at Ripple Primary School for 37 years.

“I think it’s a big shame,” said Pat, who has received no official notification that the service will end. “We aren’t just stopping the cars, we also educate the children on how to cross. It will be very dangerous without us.”

Pat believes her role in Suffolk Road, Barking, is about more than just safety.

“They will really miss us here,” said the grandma-of-two, of Cranbourne Road, Barking.

“We’re part of the community. I do it because I love it, I love the children, I like helping people.”

Marie Douglas, 47, tried a different approach by getting sponsorship with Hornchurch builders TEB to continue her job at Five Elms Primary School in Wood Lane, Dagenham, last year – but is unsure of how long business interest will last.

But Cllr Rodwell encouraged volunteers and businesses to come forward to save the service. “Where we can’t fund it any longer, we need to come up with a solution,” he said.

“It’s about delivering the service in a different way.”


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