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Snow Angels are ready for action

Waltham Forest Council is prepared for the winter, with a fleet of gritters on standby and a set of contingency plans in place to ensure vital services are maintained should snow descend on the borough.


But it’s not just the local authority lying in wait for wintry conditions to take hold. In garages and sheds all over the borough more than a thousand Snow Angels have equipment stored and ready to go at the first sight of snow.


The Council’s Snow Angels scheme was established way back in 2009, with local people being asked if they could lend a hand when paths and pavements got covered in snow. The idea being that if everyone mucked in to clear a path in their neighbourhood the borough could be made a safer place.


“It has to be said,” remarked Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, “The scheme has ‘snowballed’ since it was first put in place six years ago!


“We’ve gone from a handful of plucky volunteers to over 1,000 Snow Angels and now have people in every nook and cranny of the borough out clearing snow whenever it arrives.”


Anyone who volunteers to become a Snow Angel is provided with a 20 kilogramme bag of grit, a branded hi-visibility vest, protective gloves and a snow scoop or shovel by the Council – all free of charge.


“It’s a truly brilliant scheme,” said Cllr Loakes. “When we first launched it there was much muttering from cynics about why residents should be doing the work of the Council.


“The truth is people appreciate the Council can’t keep every path and pavement clear of snow every hour of the day. The concept was simply that we could help those people fit and healthy enough to shovel a little snow and spread a little grit the opportunity to do so in their street.


“It’s a great example of volunteering that makes your community a better place. It means that people who may naturally worry about slipping in the wintry conditions, such as the elderly, pregnant women or those with disabilities, avoid being stuck inside their home through fear.”


As well as providing equipment to Snow Angels, the Council has also greatly increased the number of grit bins it has deployed about the borough, upping them from 97 in 2009 to 176 today. It has also put them in strategic spots about the borough so that Council employees and Snow Angels alike have convenient access.


There’s still the opportunity for residents to sign up to become Snow Angels, so if you think you could help keep your neighbourhood safe during the winter get in touch – there’s snow time like the present!



PHOTO:


Councillor Clyde Loakes awarding Ian Ballard from Colworth Road, Leytonstone his special ‘1000th Snow Angel’ vest earlier this year.


NOTES TO EDITORS:


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