Communities get ready for winter

Liverpool is getting ready to combat the worst of winter weather – through a series of community hubs.

The 10 hubs, based at housing associations and council offices, will be equipped with de-icing salt, snow shovels blankets, wind-up radios and torches and other equipment which have been delivered to the hubs by council officers.

The hubs are extending the council’s winter preparations to a neighbourhood level. It is intended that the equipment will be distributed to volunteers or community groups for use in their neighbourhoods.

“We have been working with voluntary agencies, housing associations and the health sector to see how we can best work together to make sure vulnerable people are kept safe and warm this winter, ” said Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for housing.

“We recently held a very positive meeting at Croxteth Hall with health professionals to see how we can work more closely on this issue.

“The people of Liverpool are great at helping others and we are trialling equipping community groups to help vulnerable people in their locality. It’s all about local knowledge and communities will know the areas that need extra attention when it snows.

“This is the first time we have done this and hopefully it will help keep more people safe this winter. Everybody can play their part by keeping a watch out for vulnerable neighbours when the temperatures drop.”

The council’s preparations  for winter also include having 5,000  tonnes of grit stored in its salt barn and  having more than 180 gritting bins throughout the city.

Six snow blowers will also be used to clear pavement and quad bikes may also be used to spread grit on paved areas.

“After every winter we review our procedures,” said Councillor Tim Moore, cabinet member for transport and climate change. “Following last year’s very severe winter we have made some amendments to the gritting routes we carry out.

“It is impossible for us to grit every road but we have kept the major highways operating while we have had very harsh winters in the last couple of years and we have prepared on the basis that we may have more very severe weather.

“However ready we are there has to be a realisation that if there is very heavy snow then some disruption is unavoidable- grit is not  magic and cannot solve every problem.  It is not effective in certain types of weather conditions, for example.

“While the council is preparing for the winter business and individuals should also make their own preparations – including checking on neighbours.”

Advice about dealing with severe weather is available at http://liverpool.gov.uk/crime-prevention-and-emergencies/extreme-weather/ and information about gritting is available at http://liverpool.gov.uk/parking-travel-and-roads/winter-gritting/

Pictured: Paul Byrne,(City Council emergency resiliance unit) Simon Brown (Liverpool Housing Trust), Mike Roxburgh (Liverpool Mutual Homes), CouncillorAnne O’Byrne, Jamie Riley,(City Council emergency resiliance unit) and  Alan Eveleigh (Liverpool Housing Trust)