Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Junior Safety Officers project achieves national recognition

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Road Safety team has been applauded for its Junior Safety Officers (JSO) programme in the Modeshift National Sustainable Travel Awards.

The Council’s Road Safety team provides a range of programmes to schools and colleges across the borough to help keep children and young people safe on our roads whilst increasing safe active travel.

These programmes are also designed to have a positive impact on health and wellbeing whilst helping to cut air pollution, which in turn will aid towards the borough’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 as part of the Council’s commitment to tackle the Climate Emergency.

The JSO project was shortlisted for the ‘Best Project under £1000 for 2021’ category.  The national Modeshift awards recognise those who work in education and community settings for all their hard work and contribution to the world of sustainable travel.  It is designed to celebrate achievements of those who work together to achieve shared aims and objectives.

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said, “The JSO project is a partnership between the Council’s Road Safety Team, Cheshire Constabulary and the Safer Schools and Young People Partnership (SSYP) who work to promote road, community and personal safety to primary school children through elected year six pupils. These Junior Safety Officers are responsible for setting an example of good safety to the other pupils.

“Well done to the Road Safety and all our Junior Safety Officers, I’m delighted they’ve been recognised for all their hard work across the borough.”

Covid-19 had a big impact on how the team can deliver the programmes as it has not been possible to enter schools as freely.  To keep the JSO initiative running the team explored new ways of delivering their programmes and messages.

The launch of the JSO initiative usually involved a large presentation ceremony each September with the children being briefed on the programme and receiving their certificates in person. As it was no longer possible to hold this ceremony the Road Safety team organised and produced a video message to welcome the children and their adult helpers to their role which was distributed to the schools, followed by additional videos each month.

Councillor Shore added: “We’ve overwhelmed by the positive response to the videos produced and the Council has been one of the few local authorities in the region who have been able to keep the JSO programme running by adopting this proactive and innovative approach.”

The Road Safety team has been working with the Modeshift Stars programme in schools over the last two years and decided to enter this JSO scheme for a National Travel Award in October 2021 due to its success especially given the new way of delivering messages and the programme.

Image: Gemma Rhodes, Assistant Road Safety Officer, received the Finalist award on behalf of the Council’s Road Safety team.

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