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East Lancashire councils seek volunteers to help clear snow
VOLUNTEERS are being recruited to join a ‘winter squad’ of part-time gritters and snow clearers.
Following the success of such teams last year in supporting Blackburn with Darwen Council’s full-time cold weather staff, the council now wants to expand them.
Already, Pendle Council is replicating the initiative by recruiting its own squads of ‘snow angels’ to grit and clear footpaths if the big freeze comes.
Last year, Blackburn with Darwen Council created 50 grit squads involving more 150 volunteers.
As well as gritting areas not covered by the council’s winter maintenance teams, the volunteers played a ‘good neighbour’ role by keeping an eye on vulnerable residents The winter squads are independent but supported by the council with grit, snow shovels, spades, crampons, warm ‘high vis’ hooded jackets and buckets. There are packs for the volunteers to look after residents with blankets, hats and gloves.
Blackburn with Darwen environment boss Jim Smith said: “The winter squads can play a vital role in keeping people safe over winter. They do an incredible job and we hope their communities give them a hand.”
Borough adult chief Mohammed Khan said: “Winter can be a very dangerous time for our elderly and vulnerable residents.
“Over winter, I would urge people to keep their eyes open and check vulnerable neighbours are okay.”
Pendle’s ‘snow angels’ will start in a pilot area in Colne on the North Valley Estate, Peter Birtwistle Fold, and Bunkers Hill where many older people live. Volunteers will be supplied with rock salt, a shovel, a high-visibility vest, gloves, and an information pack.
Interested volunteers will be asked to attend a one-hour briefing session at the end of the month.
A spokesman for Burnley Borough Council said: “We don’t have plans to have volunteer teams as in Pendle and Blackburn.
“We work closely with Lancashire County Council and respond by making staff available for snow clearance when requested.
“We’ve used parks staff to clear snow and ice in Burnley town centre and in sensitive locations such as around the general hospital.
“We will continue that arrangement this winter.”
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