Janet Smith: Education, Thurrock


Hi, I’m Janet,

My career as a Lollipop Person started when I was learning to read at the local library. From an early age, I suffered from learning challenges that hindered my confidence, so entering the library as an adult, I was a bit apprehensive. The staff and volunteers were amazing, they not only helped me to learn to read, but they also supported me and gave me the biggest confidence boost, which led me to become a volunteer myself. I wanted to do more to give back to the community, so I learnt basic computer skills at TACC, giving me the ability to do more to assist within the library. It was a member of the team that inspired me to apply to be a Lollipop Person, which I love!

I was nervous and scared at the beginning as I wasn’t used to being out and about, however, I barely recognise that person now as I manage the busiest lollipop person section in Thurrock. I thoroughly enjoy my work knowing that I am responsible for getting children from three different schools safely across two busy road sections in Grays. My job makes me feel really valued – I get comments from parents and children, and even nice words from drivers. My ‘spot’ is my ‘happy place’, it’s where I keep children safe, I get to enjoy the environment (come rain or shine) and listen to the birds singing – it’s mine and I love it!

Thankfully, when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, I had just completed my Lollipop Person training and working enabled me to keep busy.  When schools were closed, I was not needed, so I used this time to expand on my learning and improve my reading.

I am honoured to be recognised and to be taking part in the Thank You Dance as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant. I take inspiration from The Queen; I would like to think that I will still be able to work and be as fit and healthy as she is when I reach her age.

“Janet is a true inspiration to me and the other volunteers in Chadwell Hub. Witnessing her increase in confidence has been amazing and knowing that she now believes in herself for the first time in over 50 years, all because she decided she wanted to improve her life after several setbacks, should be celebrated!” – extract from the key worker nomination for Janet


Janet’s key worker scroll (1st from the left), alongside others. Photo: Katie Beadle

Janet’s key worker scroll. Photo: Kristian Buus

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