Parents in Wrexham protest over fears for school safety scheme


Thomas Morton

PROTESTERS gathered outside Wrexham’s Guildhall with concerns a children’s road safety scheme may be cut.

About 30 parents and volunteers assembled at the council headquarters on Friday morning.

Kerbcraft is a programme for five to seven-year-olds that currently runs in 31 Wrexham primary schools.

But, due to a proposed 21 per cent cut in Welsh Government funding, there are fears the service may be radically cut down or lost from some schools.

Protesters were calling on Wrexham Council to find the funding from elsewhere so the service would not be affected.

Volunteer and mother of three Michelle Cook, 36, of Caia Park, said: “Basically we’re here because we feel very passionate about the scheme and what it stands for.

“Since it’s been going there have been no fatalities in the Wrexham area.”

Tony Armstrong, 71, of Caia Park, has been delivering Kerbcraft
as a volunteer in schools for 10 years.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” he said, “What they don’t realise is how different the kids are when we finish from when we first take them out.”

He said the scheme had 100 volunteers, but if one of the two paid administration staff were lost it could not run in all the schools it currently did.

“How can you prioritise certain schools over others?” he asked. “They’re all entitled to the same provision.”

He said if the programme was cut from 12 sessions to five or six it would also be undeliverable.

Tony’s co-volunteer Eileen Evans, of Acton Park added: “It’s a crying shame. I see mums taking their children to school every morning and there’s no safety, they just drag them across the road. It’s us who teach them road safety.”

Mother Ceri Jackson, 33, said her six-year-old son Matthew had taken part at Ysgol y Waun, Chirk – and she volunteered for a term to help teach him and his classmates.

“He’s learnt so much, and so have I,” she said.

“His school year had this course, but now there might be children who don’t benefit from it at all.”

Keith Samuels, 69, of Johnstown, has been volunteering with the service for six years.

“I appreciate there have got to be cut backs, but you can’t put a price on a child’s life,” he said.

Responding to the proposed cut in funding, council leader Cllr Neil Rogers said: “As a highway authority responsible for road safety, we fully recognise the contribution this service makes in helping to ensure our young people are well equipped with the skills to respond to potential hazards that may present themselves.”

He said some information released to parents and volunteers was not accurate and had caused confusion, and full details of cuts in Welsh Government funding had not yet been confirmed.

“It is appreciated that Kerbcraft is universally popular and valued by those who deliver and receive the training.

“Please be assured, therefore, that Wrexham Council is monitoring this situation very closely and will continue to examine potential issues and options available as they develop further.”

The money for Kerbcraft is administrated on behalf of the Welsh Government by North Wales transport body Taith.

See full story in the Leader

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