Check in on your vulnerable during the big freeze

Council leaders are encouraging residents to check in on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours to make sure they’re not suffering in silence and have everything they need during the snow and freezing weather.


The Local Government Association said councils were well prepared for the snow and plummeting temperatures this week, having stockpiled 1.5 million tonnes of salt for the winter.

Gritters across the country have been out round the clock, finishing after midnight and starting as early as 4am to help keep main roads clear during the heavy snow and freezing weather.

In addition to gritting roads and clearing snow drifts, the LGA said councils have been looking out for the more vulnerable members of their communities. Local teams will assist the elderly and vulnerable in their areas, from delivering hot meals to carrying out emergency household repairs and providing heating.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA Transport’s spokesman, said: 

“Councils remain well prepared for the cold with 1.5 million tonnes of salt stockpiled at the beginning of winter and a fleet of state-of-the-art gritters being deployed across the country.

“Highway teams are monitoring high-tech weather forecasts with highly-trained staff on standby around the clock. Gritters have been out day and night, finishing after midnight and starting in the small hours of the morning, treating thousands of miles of council roads as the big chill bites and councils will be keeping people up-to-date about weather forecasts, road conditions and gritting activity. Given the unprecedented snow in some areas, gritting has focussed on main roads to ensure that as minimal disruption as possible has been experienced.

“As the freeze sets in we need everyone in our communities to be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong. Whether it be milk bottles left outside, newspapers stuck in the letterbox or curtains drawn all day, any sort of unusual activity could be a sign that something is wrong and that someone is in need of help.”

Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said:

“With thousands of adults across the country depending on our services, social care teams are working around the clock to make sure that essential visits continue and the care that makes a vital difference to people’s lives carries on, despite the weather.

“Care staff and social workers are doing wonderful jobs and once again the incredible people that make up social care in this country are demonstrating just how invaluable they are.”

Case studies

Members of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services have put in place emergency measures to ensure that tens of thousands of social care visits to adults with disabilities or older people continue to take place. Social care teams across the country, in councils and through care providers have been diverting and managing resources to make sure that visits continue and essential care is delivered.

Bath and North East Somerset Council have deployed gritters, with road clearance teams on call 24/7 to make sure roads are kept as clear as possible. Despite the freezing temperatures and snowfall, many major routes are currently open as of 10 am, Thursday 1st March, and residents are being kept informed via the Council’s website.

Durham County Council are working hard to keep services running with gritter crews out throughout the day and, following a break in the snow, have managed to clear many priority one routes. The authority has good salt stocks and with further deliveries due to take place, crews will continue to plough and treat these routes through the evening and into tomorrow morning. However, drivers are once again being advised only to travel if necessary. Durham County Council continue to keep residents informed via Twitter and Facebook, and their winter weather site

Cornwall Council staff have been working around the clock to deal with issues caused by the snow and ice which has been affecting large parts of Cornwall over the past 24 hours. The council’s gritters first went out at 2pm on Tuesday to carry out precautionary salting on the 25 main routes. After completing the precautionary salting on these routes, which include the most heavily trafficked A and B roads, the crews have been treating secondary routes and dealing with any specific issues. Gritters are working throughout night and day to keep Cornwall moving, and more information is on their snow website.

Brent Council has provided an additional 35 refuge places for rough sleepers with council staff support, drug and alcohol workers, Red Cross and NHS nursing.

Colchester Borough Council is working with a range of agencies and volunteers to ensure rough sleepers receive the help and support needed to access safe and secure accommodation  and  also to provide help  and advice for vulnerable and isolated residents


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Ben Murphy

Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
Phone: 020 7664 3157
Email: [email protected]
Media office (for out of hours contact): 020 7664 3333
18 Smith Square, Westminster, London SW1P 3HZ

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