Pupils take delivery of parking buddies to improve safety outside their school

These little friendly aluminium pupils are improving road safety outside a Birmingham school following a successful bid to the region’s Better Streets Community Fund.

Clifton Road Primary School in Balsall Heath has taken delivery of 6 parking buddies, cheerfully designed bollards to warn drivers against inconsiderate parking.

The pretend pupils discourage cars from mounting the pavement or blocking crossing points to improve safety and visibility for the children and parents walking or cycling to the school gates.

Ed Wicks of Living Streets, Owen Lamprey of Clifton Primary School and PSCO Richard Evans with pupils celebrate the arrival of the new parking buddies

Road safety fears are often raised as a key reason why many parents prefer to drive children to school rather than encourage more walking and cycling.

Clifton Primary was among 34 schools, community groups, charities and individuals from across the West Midlands to submit successful project ideas that will receive funding from the £2 million Better Streets Community Fund (BSCF).

The Fund was set up by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), to support relatively small projects which encourage walking and cycling such as secure bike storage, better street lights and improvements to crossings.

Owen Lamprey, lead practitioner for health and wellbeing at Clifton Primary School said: ‘We value the health and safety of all Clifton families and our brand new parking buddies are a reminder to motorists of the reason why they should park responsibly. 

“We also want to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads and encourage our pupils to take active trips to school.” 

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We had an amazing response when we asked people to come up with ideas for small projects which could be delivered quickly and make a huge impact on our streets.

“These parking buddies are a great idea to stop inconsiderate parking here at Clifton Primary.

“Through initiatives like the BSCF and the WOW campaign from Living Streets we are seeing more children walking and riding to school improving their fitness and health.”

The Better Streets Community Fund was set up in May from the larger £23 million Transforming Cities Fund pot allocated to cycling and walking by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). 

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “If we’re going to encourage more people to walk and cycle across the region, then safety must be a paramount concern.

“Cycling and walking for shorter journeys can save you money, take cars off the road and improve air quality. It’s great fun too and hopefully the parking buddies will encourage more parents to leave the car at home for the school run.”

Katherine Holcroft, head of delivery, Living Streets said: “Walking to school is a great way for children to build more exercise into their daily lives, helping them to arrive at school healthier, happier and ready to learn.

“We know from our research that too many cars around school gates and cars parking on the pavement are what parents dislike most about the school run. So, to help more families choose healthier and cleaner ways to do the school run, we need to tackle this vehicle dominance. Parking Buddies can help do that.  

“By walking to school or parking a short walk away from the school gates, children are getting active rather than sitting in traffic, whilst the school and community benefits from reduced congestion and air pollution.” 

A full list of projects supported by is listed on the Better Streets Community Fund website.