Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 14:03 UK

Rise in lollipop people interest

Denise Cummings
Denise Cummings has been a lollipop lady to thousands of children in Cardiff for 22 years

Around twice as many people have applied to be lollipop men and women in Cardiff in the past two months as during the same time last year.

Cardiff Council said it has had around 20 applications a month since March - bucking the recent UK trend of a lack of interest in the job.

It said it does not know the reason but speculated it could be because of current financial pressures.

But it still has 30 vacancies to fill for the £6 an hour job.

Denise Cummings, who has been a lollipop lady to thousands of children for 22 years, encouraged others to join her.

"It's fantastic to see the children smile in the morning and hear what they've done in the school holidays," she said.

"When they leave primary school they come back and tell me what they are doing in secondary school, which is really very satisfying".

For me, it's been incredibly rewarding to help the community I live in for so long
Denise Cummings

Cardiff Council's road safety unit said many local authorities across the UK are struggling to fill vacancies so it is not sure why there has been a sudden jump in people applying in Cardiff.

It said it could be because of "financial pressure or a desire to do something different in a changing climate".

As well as the £6 hourly rate, crossing patrols are paid a retainer fee in school holidays.

However, despite a number of vacancies being filled in the first part of the year, many pupils still remain without help to cross the road.

The council is still trying to fill a number of posts in Birchgrove, Cardiff Bay, Ely, Grangetown, Lakeside, Rumney, St Melons, Thornhill and Whitchurch.

Ms Cummings, who works outside Herbert Thomson Primary in Ely, who has recently won a council award for her hard work and long service, said: "I would encourage anyone to be a school crossing patrol person.

"For me, it's been incredibly rewarding to help the community I live in for so long. During my time I've seen the children I've helped grow up and start their own families, who I also help get safely to school.

"The job keeps me active too, which must be positive for my health and wellbeing."

Dave Evans, Cardiff Council's road safety manager, said the authority would train those interested in the job.

"Every patrol I speak to tells me about the satisfaction and fulfilment they get from helping children safely across the road," he said.

"It's not an easy job but we provide training and by law, traffic must stop when patrols request it to."

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