VOLUNTEERS are joining forces to help elderly and vulnerable residents keep mobile during extreme weather this winter.

As part of Darlington Snow Patrol, which is now in its third year, a number of volunteer groups have joined together to help dig residents out of their homes and grit pavements and drives during cold weather.

The scheme is coordinated by eVOLution Darlington, and a number of organisations including Age UK Darlington, Tees Valley YMCA, Darlington Association on Disability (DAD), Growing Older Living in Darlington, Darlington Neighbourhood Watch, Nordic Pioneer, and Darlington Town Mission are offering their help.

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Health’s Warm Homes, Healthy People fund, the groups have been able to buy snow shovels, grit and warm clothing for the volunteers.

As well as clearing driveways and paths of snow and ice, Darlington Snow Patrol is offering emergency food parcels to those who are most desperate.

Organisers are also urging people to check on their elderly and vulnerable neighbours throughout the winter months to ensure they are okay.

Susan Carter, a senior officer at Age UK Darlington, said: “When it is snowy or frosty, a lot of elderly people cannot get out because they are often unsteady on their feet and are scared they might hurt themselves.

“If you know there is an elderly person living in your street, be a good neighbour and go and check on them. They may be wary to opening the door to people they don’t know, so make yourself known to them and check on them regularly.”

She also stressed that helping a neighbour out was unlikely to result in litigation if anyone slipped.

To alert the teams to areas that need snow clearing, or for more information on keeping warm during winter, contact 01325-734999.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Mark Wilkes on 01325-266888 or mark.wilkes@evolutiondarlington.com

Organisers are also urging people to stay healthy in the cold weather by keeping their living room temperature at 21 degrees and bedroom temperature at 18 degrees.

All bedroom windows should be shut at night and people should wrap up warm, especially on a night.