Dorset lollipop patrol funding cuts spark protest march

Generic school crossing patrol
Image caption Dorset County Council is proposing to cut funding for school crossing patrols

Parents and schoolchildren in Dorset who are campaigning against funding for 65 school crossing patrols being cut, are to hand in a petition to a council.

A consultation over Dorset County Council's plans to withdraw funding for lollipop men and women will end in March 2012.

Funding for 10 of the patrols had been due to end in July 2011.

Campaigners are expected to march from Fairfield car park in Dorchester, to County Hall on 29 January.

The remaining 55 patrols will be cut in December.

'Valuable job'

The move is expected to save the local authority £200,000 a year in salary costs.

However, Weymouth parent Helen Toft who began the petition, wants the service protected.

Ms Toft, who runs a walking bus service to Holy Trinity School, told BBC News: "The lollipop men and women do a really valuable job.

"I am saying this isn't right and so are others."

The cuts are among a number of measures agreed by the Conservative-run council in December to help save £27m in 2011/12.

The council has extended the eight-month consultation by three months to give town and parish councils, schools and community groups time to find their own funding or to organise a volunteer service.

If alternative funding or volunteers are found, the council would remain responsible for the management, supervision and training for the service.

The savings proposal will be discussed at a budget setting meeting on Thursday 17 February.

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