Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, opened day two of the National Road Safety Conference with a passionate presentation in which he emphasised the power of self-belief and positive thinking.
“The world is very different and we’ve all had to change,” he said. “But fortunately as a profession we don’t have a roll over and die attitude.”
He told delegates: “Positive thinking helps to bring about a natural positive attitude and increases inner energy.
“Conversely, negative thinking feeds a negative attitude and can bring you down, and reduces your ability to cope with stressful situations. Negative thinking has nothing going for it.”
He went on to encourage delegates to use “visualisation” as a technique. “Visualise your goals and how you want the future to be. We all know what we want – we just need to practice seeing it,” he said.
In the second part of his presentation he went on to explain “the Durham experience” when the cuts came. “We used the survival guidelines produced by Road Safety GB to help us think differently, act differently and respond differently.”
When the cuts came, compounded by the loss of an NDORS contract on a technicality, Alan inevitably lost staff and budget.
“What did we do?,” he asked delegates. “We talked about it, I talked to my boss and explained what was necessary to retain an effective service. We negotiated a change in the team structure, which included a proposal to bring Bikeability training in house.
“Don’t be afraid to take bold steps,” he told delegates.
A key element of the new approach is for his team to be far more visible and to promote the services they offer both internally and externally. “We publish a quarterly news update and communicate with the public, local employers and within the council.
“As a result we secured £88,000 to provide SAFED training to local SMEs and have been asked to prepare a SAFED proposal for Durham County Council’s fleet.
“My team is now contributing to the cost of road safety ETP delivery, and that makes managers listen.
“We have forecast an income of £150,000 this year, and I’m confident we will exceed that.”
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