Mobile phone company could replace School Crossing Patrols

3:46pm Friday 30th November 2012

By Alexandra Rucki

A mobile phone company could soon be sponsoring some of the borough's under-threat School Crossing Patrols (SCP) service.

Telecoms group TalkTalk, who already sponsor two patrols in Bedfordshire, have told union GMB it could help promote their HomeSafe internet security product.

Earlier this year Wandsworth Council announced it was close to securing a sponsorship deal to back a number of the patrols.

In May councillors voted to axe funding for the SCP service who operate outside 44 schools in Wandsworth and cost the council approximately £198,000 per year.

A TalkTalk spokesman told The Sun: "We’re like the Green Cross Code of the internet."

But GMB union said the council was cutting frontline public services, which it could afford to pay itself.

Paul Grafton, GMB organiser, said: "The ending lollipop staff and the meals on wheels service in Wandsworth mocks David Cameron’s claim that cuts would not hit frontline services.

"Getting a short term sponsor to support some of the lollipop staff is no way to keep kids safe crossing the roads on the way to and from school.

"There is a serious risk that kids will be killed by these cuts. Recently one of the lollipop staff was knocked down while supervising kids across the road in Battersea."

Senia Dedic, founder of parenting group Women of Wandsworth (WowMums), said she was relieved there would be lollipop people to help her teenage children get to school.

She said: "Of course it will be much safer, children need that safety. It puts my mind more than a little bit at ease.

"They walk to school by themselves now. It is important when I am not around someone will be looking after them."

GMB are staging a demo at the next full council meeting on December 5 against plans to cut the service and Meals on Wheels.

Councillor Russell King said earlier this month: "We have examined this issue very carefully indeed and looked at other parts of the country and the overwhelming evidence is that school crossing patrollers do not have any effect on accident figures.

"Part of the reason for this is the simple fact virtually all young children are brought to school by their parents."


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