Andromeda Joseph, a nine-year-old girl, has become Britain’s youngest ‘health and safety’ officer after starting a campaign inspired by bad parking outside her school
A young girl has been branded a ‘safety hero’ after taking a stand against bad parking outside of her school in Kent.
Andromeda Joseph made a poster warning parents doing the school run to think more about their parking, impressing her headmaster.
The poster sparked a campaign at her school and nine-year-old Andromeda has now become Britain’s youngest ‘health and safety’ officer as a result
Andromeda decided to take matters into her own hands after her dad was involved in an “altercation” with another mum – who allegedly parked her car in an illegal spot.
The youngster’s poster about the issue was displayed around St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School, where she is now the health and safety officer.
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Andromeda’s new position was announced publicly in the primary school’s assembly last month – where she was awarded a badge and a clipboard.
Her mum, Hema, couldn’t be prouder of her little girl, especially as she and her husband have been speaking to drivers parked in places they shouldn’t be for two-and-a-half years.
Now they have help from Andromeda, who has also become frustrated by speeding motorists outside the front gates – and bad parking.
The 39-year-old parent said: “The primary school is on a very busy road, with another school just opposite.
“The road gets really hectic during pick up time as one side of the road is full with parked cars – so it means you can only have one car passing at a time.
“The school has to send out emails regularly telling people to take care and drive safely, also asking people to take photos of offending cars which they suggest to send to the council.
“I am so proud of my girl for raising awareness about this and trying to create a safer environment for all children there, and other pedestrians and drivers too.
“It is so busy and so dangerous when people are careless about where they park.”
Program manager Hema, of Gillingham, described some of these offenses as “cars parked on no parking zones”.
She says parents regularly park on zig-zag and double yellow lines placed around the school area “which make it impossible to see oncoming traffic.”
Hema and her husband, 40, have been going out to speak to the drivers parked in places they shouldn’t be for two and a half years.
They would take pictures of the cars and then report them to the Medway Council.
Hema explains: “We have been doing this since September in 2019 – but nothing has changed.
“It is so frustrating because people are putting their convenience over the safety of the children.
“We are unsure of what action the council has taken, as it’s still a regular issue.
“We have seen traffic wardens a few times but ultimately we think that’s not a good enough deterrent.
“If the council could issue warnings and/or other purposes to those individuals who repeatedly park dangerously, it might help stop them.”
However, on Friday January 14, Hema’s husband – who asked not to be named – had an altercation with one of the school mums, which ended up turning violent.
“The woman was being very aggressive and threatening to get physical,” says Hema.
“When we told the school, they said to report it to the police. So we did, but nothing came of it because they said there is not much they could do.
“All we wanted was for the police to get involved because we feel people would then take more notice.
“The problem is we aren’t being taken seriously!”
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Andromeda witnessed this interaction between her dad and a school mum and it inspired her to take matters into her own hands.
So over the first weekend in February, Andromeda designed a poster and took it into school on Monday.
Her poster reads: “ATTENTION!!! PARKING NOTICE!
“Children’s Safety VS Your Convenience?
“Who should win? Park safely or not at all.
“If you must drive, make sure you park safely, even if you have to walk a little further.
“Be careful. DO NOT PARK ON THE ^^ OR II.”
Andromeda’s headmistress, Clare Redmond, was so impressed she decided to make copies to put up all around the school, and appointed Andromeda health and safety officer.
Mrs Redmond said: “Andromeda has taken on the role of Health and Safety Officer as part of her desire to raise road safety awareness and promote road safety issues to everyone in our school and the wider community.
“She has made eye-catching and thought-provoking posters that are on display around the school perimeter, to try and encourage drivers to drive and park more responsibly in an attempt to prevent accidents after a number of near-misses.
“This is just the beginning of Andromeda’s mission – she is our ‘Road Safety Hero’.”
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