Through her road safety program aimed at kindergarten kids, Bathurst Road Safety Office Iris Dorsett has not only been able to build cross-council bonds, but establish strong communication lines with schools in the community.
Dorsett’s Kindy Kits program was started in 2009 to help raise awareness amongst kindergarten-aged children about the dangers of the roads.
She and her team go out into the community and present on the subject of road safety. Each child is presented with a Kindy Kit, which includes safety information provided by the RMS as well as a poster to colour in and enter into the department’s annual colouring-in competition.
All entries are displayed in the local library and the winners, which are chosen by the mayor, are invited to celebrate with the mayor at a morning tea event.
The beauty of the program is that it allows Dorsett to spread the word about road safety to the children, but also access the school community. Over the life of the program she has established strong links with the 23 schools in the region and they often come to her direct with queries and problems.
“If a school has any concerns, they know me and can call me,” she told delegates.
Since the program was established, it has been broadened to include a sustainability element, which is overseen by the council’s environmental officer. Children and schools are now educated about recycling, through the program and the kit itself is supplied in an environmentally-friendly, reusable, book bag, which is branded.
The success of Kindy Kits has meant that other council departments have also reached out to Dorsett to find out how they can get involved in the program.
She cites the bringing together of different departments as a key achievement of the scheme.
“We never really had a high incident rate to start with, but it’s not blowing out either,” she said.
Kindy Kits won the Excellence in Road Safety Award at the IPWEA NSW Awards
in October 2014.