“it’s very easy to feel quite stressed and pressured”

Liz Brooker MBE works with schools and residents to create School Streets – providing safer roads for children to walk or cycle, and reducing vehicle emissions during drop-off and pick-up times. Along with the pandemic have come longer working hours and increased pressure.

“The biggest challenges I’ve found personally have been around the lack of travel, live music, opportunity to see friends or even just walking in to work at Laurence House. The week before the first lockdown I went to a Frank Turner gig at Fairfield Halls and travelled to Turnhout, in Belgium to present a session on road safety.

“My job has changed almost completely. I have worked at Lewisham since 1983 and in road safety since 1985, delivering road safety lessons and promoting cycling to schools right back to the days of the Green Cross Code Man, Tufty or the King of the Road Hedgehogs! Since the lock down I have been working on introducing School Streets, where roads near to the school gate are closed at the start and end of the school day.

“So from standing up in front of a few hundred children talking in assemblies, I am now talking about Traffic Management Orders, traffic cameras and bollards to teachers, head teachers and residents. We were talking about School Streets before COVID, but this has given us an opportunity to create safe and calmer space outside our schools. I don’t believe anyone can honestly say they do not care about child safety, so this has been a positive!

“I think the feeling that you are not in control has to be the hardest feeling. Also it’s very easy to feel quite stressed and pressured. Like many teams in the council, I have been working much longer hours and trying to make sure I’m being a valuable member of the team and supporting the community.

“I know I’ve been putting the stress and pressure on myself. I think this is the issue of being at home, and it is so important to balance everything out. It is really vital to make sure the evenings and weekends are clearly defined, put your computer away and have your own life.

“What has helped is walking. My target is 20,000 steps a day, even if it’s running up and down the stairs at five minutes to midnight to get that extra 100 steps. And my dogs have been a real help. I have two dogs that are lively and often make their presence known when I am in a meeting.”

Liz spoke to us in February 2021.