I have just heard on the radio that, because of the cuts in
local council budgets, Dorset County Council is about to cut the Lollypop men
and women that keep our children safe crossing the roads outside their school.
I can understand why this is on the cut list, namely, some
may feel it is better to keep community centres open rather than keeping a
service that, most of the time, helps children and their mothers/responsible
adult cross the roads.
I can also see why the council decided to cut this
particular tranche of individuals, reasoning that, if they were to cut one or
two highly paid council executives, and use that money to pay for the service,
these individuals' lives would be devasted, It would be very hard for them to give
up the private school for their kids, the golf club and paying a very large mortgage etc., should they have to go on unemployment benefit, whilst because of the nature of the Lollypop
men and women's work i.e. part time, low paid, etc., suddenly going on to
benefit would not effect their lives quite as much. I am not making any
judgements. I am just trying to
understand why, in this instance, the Council might feel it better to cut
front-line services rather than the salaries of the top council executives.
I think, however, that we could find a better solution.
We could still keep the Lollypop people and still make a cut to the
Council expenditure. Why not explore sponsorship? We already find
many roundabouts sponsored by local firms, so why don't we ask Car Showrooms in
the area to sponsor a Lollypop person. The function of a Lollypop person is
to stop cars in the middle of the road, stand with their back to the stopped
car and wait for the children to cross. What if, say the local car repair
company or local car showroom sponsored this Lollypop person? On their
uniforms, provided by the sponsor, would be something like "Volvo Ferndown sales
and repairs, taking care of your car and helping the community". We, the
car drivers, sitting there waiting for the children to cross the road, would
see this "Ad" every time we stopped. Surely we might even think that
the particular sponsor was an extremely good egg, maybe we would think about
buying our car from them, or getting our M.O.T. done there.
This would keep the Lollypop people, save the Council money,
and get business for the sponsor.
Another win win, I think.