Social care staff have been battling snow and ice to provide services to frail and vulnerable people.
Staff from councils and independent agencies have been volunteering their own time to get out in 4×4 vehicles, while other care workers have been pulling sleds and even biking to clients.
Mike Padgham, chairman of the United Kingdom Home Care Association, said: “Homecare workers across the UK are once again defying the weather and getting to clients using whatever means they can – a tribute to the vital work that our sector does all year round.”
Among cases highlighted by UKHCA, personal carers Imelda and Margaret from Active Assistance used sledges to pull shopping to a service user with spinal injuries in Derbyshire, and in North Devon care worker Lorraine Adams of Phoenix Care At Home abandoned her car and got on her bike to reach people in Braunton.
This comes with town halls also calling on neighbours to look out for each other and for workers such as postmen, milkmen and newspaper boys and girls to be extra vigilant.
In Surrey, which has been particularly badly hit by snow, social workers are on hand to visit vulnerable residents. However, leader Andrew Povey said that while the council was prepared, professionals could not do everything.
“If residents help us by looking out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours and clearing snow away around their own properties, things will hopefully be much easier for everyone,” he said.
Surrey Council staff at residential homes in Reigate, Caterham, Cranleigh, Camberley, Ottershaw and Farnham arrived at work with spare clothing so they could stay several nights.
Within the county, Guildford Council is contacting all of its care users to make sure they have enough hot food, medication and advice on how to keep warm. Staff delivered extra meals yesterday and workmen are on-call to fix broken heating systems or frozen pipes for its housing tenants.
Bracknell Forest Council has a list of 4×4 vehicle owners who are delivering meals to the elderly, and one of its residential homes is providing hot meals in the community and arranging delivery. Care staff are also out ensuring people have sufficient provisions and are warm, and arranging for shopping to be delivered or prescriptions collected. For staff who don’t live locally it’s providing overnight accommodation in one its day centres.
In Northamptonshire, Corby Council’s support workers are offering to go to the shops for residents in their support scheme, buy their bread and milk for them and deliver it to their door to ensure they don’t have to battle the icy conditions unnecessarily.
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