Winter weather is 'snow' match for warm-hearted volunteers

AN appeal has been made for more volunteers to join a scheme which helps vulnerable residents left trapped in their homes during spells of bad weather.

Darlington's Snow Patrol volunteers have been busy throughout the recent cold snap clearing the pathways and doorsteps of elderly residents across the town.

Snow Patrol formed three years ago when an assortment of voluntary organisations, including Age UK, Tees Valley YMCA and Darlington Town Mission, came together to address the problem of vulnerable people being left isolated in icey conditions because they were unable to clear their own pathways.

Co-ordinated by Evolution, Snow Patrol now boasts around two dozen members but is on the lookout for more volunteers to help this winter.

Mark Wilkes of Evolution said: “It is all about helping the vulnerable, elderly and isolated people who can’t get out and are unable to clear their path themselves and don’t have a partner or neighbour who can do it for them.

“We provide all the equipment, and we send our volunteers to places that they live local to – we wouldn’t ask people to travel across to the other side of town from where they live, so the more volunteers we have, the better the system works.”

As well as clearing snow and ice from pathways, Snow Patrol volunteers also distribute emergency hampers and deliver leaflets giving tips on how to stay healthy and warm during the winter months.

Karen Grundy, executive director of Evolution, said: “Dealing with the bad weather during the winter period can be hard for all of us, but for those who are vulnerable, isolated or older, the hardship and danger is significantly increased.

“It is fantastic that groups in Darlington have come together to form the Snow Patrol, it shows great awareness of need and community spirit, we hope this encourages people to be a good neighbour, volunteering their help to make a difference in their local community.”

Anybody who would like to join Snow Patrol can contact Mr Wilkes on 01325-266888, or email mark.wilkes@evolutiondarlington.com

Darlington residents who need the team’s help can contact them on 01325-734999.

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