‘Operation Snow Patrol’ launched in Waterside

Eamon McLaughlin, Geraldine O'Donnell, Junior Morrison, Councillor Lynn Fleming, and Fr Chris Ferguson, pictured at the launch of 'Operation Snow Patrol.' (1812MM06)Pic By Charlie McMenamin.

Eamon McLaughlin, Geraldine O'Donnell, Junior Morrison, Councillor Lynn Fleming, and Fr Chris Ferguson, pictured at the launch of 'Operation Snow Patrol.' (1812MM06)Pic By Charlie McMenamin.

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Community leaders in the Top of the Hill area have launched their plans to respond to winter weather conditions.

‘Operation Snow Patrol’ was launched this week and will be put into action to help anyone in the community in need of assistance during any cold snap.

The scheme is being co-ordinated by local community groups; Top of the Hill 2010, The Whistle Project, and Hillcrest House.

It is designed to help older and vulnerable members of the community who are in danger of becoming isolated by the cold weather, and to promote community awareness.

Community worker Geraldine O’Donnell said the scheme has two elements, a befriending service and a good neighbour initiative. The befriending element involves visiting the homes of elderly and vulnerable residents and making sure they have enough shopping in. The good neighbour scheme involves providing Christmas dinner for local residents. Volunteers will also be on hand to help clear ice and snow from driveways and footpaths.

A leaflet has been distributed to 1,500 homes in the area announcing details of the scheme and includes a list of useful phone numbers of community services, statutory agencies, emergency services, and local representatives.

Ms O’Donnell said; “Last year we were taken by surprise by the weather and this year we plan to provide a service so no-one feels alone or isolated.

“More than 30 volunteers are on hand to help and there will be someone on the other end of the phone at all times to offer advice and help.

“We want to let people know that they are not alone and that the community is there to help, whatever the weather.”