Campaigner Andromeda Joseph becomes health and safety officer at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School, Twydall
Published: 17:04, 07 March 2022
Updated: 19:07, 07 March 2022
A girl has become Britain's youngest health and safety officer after starting a campaign against bad parking at her school – by the parents.
Andromeda Joseph, nine, decided to take matters into her own hands after her dad had an “altercation” with a mum, who allegedly left her car in an illegal spot.
The Year Five pupil's parents have been speaking to drivers parked in places they shouldn’t be for two-and-a-half years.
But they now have help from Andromeda, who has also become frustrated by speeding motorists outside the front gates and bad parking.
Andromeda designed a safety poster and her head teacher, Clare Redmond, was so impressed she decided to make copies to put up all around the school.
She has now even appointed her health and safety officer for St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School, Rainham.
Andromeda’s new position was announced publicly in the primary school’s assembly last month and she was awarded a badge and a clipboard.
Mum Hema, 39, 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.”
Programme manager Hema, of Gillingham, described some of these offences 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''.
She 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 Medway Council.
Hema said: “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 fines to those individuals who repeatedly park dangerously, it might help stop them."
However, on January 14, Hema's husband – who asked to not be named – had an altercation with one of the school mums, which ended up turning violent.
Hema said: “The woman was being very aggressive and threatening to get physical.
"This is just the beginning of Andromeda’s mission – she is our ‘Road Safety Hero’..."
“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!”
Andromeda witnessed this interaction between her dad and a school mum and it inspired her to take matters into her own hands.
On the first weekend of February, she designed a poster and took it into school.
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’."
More by this authorMedway Messenger reporter