‘How can they put a price on safety?’

Haydock mum Helen Longworth is fighting back against St Helens Council proposal to cut school crossing patrols. Pictured with patrol volunteer Ian Nocton.
Haydock mum Helen Longworth is fighting back against St Helens Council proposal to cut school crossing patrols. Pictured with patrol volunteer Ian Nocton.

A Haydock mum has mounted a campaign to save the lollipop crossing patrol at her children’s school after a council decision to axe the service.

Helen Longworth slammed St Helens Council’s announcement the area’s lollipop patrols could be scrapped as part of a scheme to save £20.3m by 2020.

If approved, shelving the service could save the council as much as £130,000 per year.

But the mother-of-three reacted with frustration at what she considered to be putting a price on safety.

“I was angry, and I still am,” she said.

“I just feel like it’s a drop in the ocean for the amount of money the have to save. When it comes to children, I just think why risk their safety over such a small amount of money?”

The 34-year-old said that although her two young children do not need to cross busy roads on their way to school, just knowing that responsible adults were on the streets was reassuring.

Helen said: “My two boys sometimes walk to school on their own, and it gives me peace of mind knowing that the patrols are there. “You see so many kids messing about by the road side, and I just think that having someone responsible there gives you that comfort.”

Helen also dismissed the council’s proposals to transfer responsibility for the patrols to the schools themselves.

“It’s just not a viable option. My children’s school have already said they have a tight budget, and can’t fund anymore, so I don’t see it happening.”

Helen has launched an online petition to highlight the importance of the school crossing patrols, and is urging more locals to take up the cause too.

The authority operates a school crossing patrol at 39 designated sites. They are proposing to stop providing the service and transfer responsibility to schools.