Scores of volunteers have signed up to help ensure Aberdeenshire’s roads and pavements are safe as the wintry weather continues.
The authority is regularly criticised during spells of severe weather for failing to clear side roads and paths.
However priority is given to maintain main roads and resources are stretched to grit and clear every single area.
In an effort to ease frustration and deal with the problem, Aberdeenshire Council launched a snow warden scheme which gives communities access to a range of resources from grit spreaders to full protective equipment.
As of this month, there are now 27 groups operating in the region, which amounts to 72 volunteers.
But the authority has issued a fresh appeal for more wardens, with the scheme running until April.
Applications are taken throughout the year for the initiative.
Last year, the region endured one of the worst winters in recent memory, with the council forced to go £2million over budget to treat the roads and pavements.
Roads bosses came under fire after towns and villages were left impassable after the traditional surface treatment was left redundant by thawing conditions, rainfall and freezing temperatures overnight.
This year the authority has already used about 23,300 tonnes of salt to treat surfaces since October, with a further 15,000 tonnes in stock and more than 7,000 expected to be delivered this month.
The council has also been trialling a new app which shows people where gritters are in real time and what routes have been dealt with.
The programme is currently only available on phones and tablets as My Aberdeenshire, but is likely to be made available on their website in the future.
There are 32 “primary routes” with 100 council drivers covering these, there have also been 120 farmers and 32 plough contractors on the roads to clear the snow in recent weeks.
For more information on the snow warden scheme visit www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk
By Press and Journal
In the Autumn of 2014, two San Francisco therapists shared a vision: to help heal that which divides us through the fine art of skilled listening. They gathered 26 of their colleagues, practiced listening skills and came up with a curriculum and model for listening on the sidewalks together.
On May 7th 2015, for 2 hours in 12 locations throughout San Francisco, listeners set up chairs and signs, offering to listen to any passer-by who wanted to be seen and heard. The result was amazing. And soon after a group from Los Angeles asked if they could reproduce it. There was never an intention for this thing to grow. Every person met at Sidewalk Talk is just like you, someone who believes that human connection is the way to create healthy humans, healthy politics, and a healthy world.
Today Sidewalk Talk has 1700 volunteers world-wide. They have groups in 40 cities around the globe. They have grown but remain grassroots by design. The focus is creating an active, engaged community of volunteers who commit to a regular listening practice and who connect with each other, not just the people they listen to.
Is this a way to gather not only people’s thoughts and opinions, but also raise the important of what the man on the “sidewalk” has to say? Would this work in our communities? Worth a thought!
Spare Chair Sunday first launched in 2015 as a partnership between national charity Contact the Elderly and Bisto. Expanding on the charity’s model of free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged over 75 who live alone, Spare Chair Sunday encouraged people to offer a ‘spare chair’ at their Sunday lunch tables to a Contact the Elderly older guest and their volunteer driver, to share a delicious warm lunch all together. The response to the award-winning campaign was amazing, with over 1,600 Spare Chair Sunday volunteers hosting Sunday lunches or becoming regular tea party volunteers in their local community.
Any host homes or venues must have a downstairs toilet and be easily accessible (generally we say no more than three steps where possible).
Any car used must be fully insured and drivers must hold a full driving licence, as well as supplying two references and completing a DBS check. This is for the safety and security of guests and host.
Interested? Click on http://www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/volunteer to apply to become a volunteer. Applications are dealt with as soon as possible, but please do be patient, all necessary checks must be made. In some cases, there will not be anyone near enough to you, groups may already have as many volunteers as they require, or there may not be a group in your area. It may be the case that your application may enable work to be launched in the area for the first time, enabling more older people to benefit!
Some beautiful and unusual buildings and land are in community ownership.
A growing number of groups are getting together to rescue much-loved places from redevelopment or demolition – from castles and piers to public toilets.
Could your community take ownership of a local space? To inspire you, over the next few weeks we would like to share with you some of these. First up, The Burrow, Devon.
The Burrow in Exbourne is a community-owned shop with a difference – it’s underground. Like something from The Hobbit, this little shop, café and post office is built underneath a field in the centre of the village, and is the UK’s only underground shop.
In December 2001 the village shop and post office in the parish of Exbourne with Jacobstowe in rural West Devon closed and was sold as a private dwelling. This meant that villagers would have to make a journey of at least 5 miles each way to reach the nearest town for shops and services.
Early in 2002 following a public meeting to discuss the closure of the community’s only store and post office, the Exbourne Community Initiative Committee was formed. The original mandate of the organisation was to try and re-establish a shop – a community-run shop – possibly with additional facilities alongside it. The great importance of such activities in safeguarding the quality of village life was keenly recognised and the initiative was supported by the vast majority of local residents.
The Association quickly established a temporary shop, cafe and post office in Exbourne’s Village Hall, opening 2 mornings a week and run (with the exception of the Post Office section) by volunteers.
The shop has grown and grown and with the support of local growers, plus a lot of hard work, they have managed to get together an exciting range of products, from fresh vegetables, canned food and even some hardware items. Each shop day freshly baked bread is locally sourced.
Volunteers fulfill a variety of roles within Aberdeenshire Council
Becoming a volunteer with Aberdeenshire Council is a great way to learn and develop new skills, build confidence and enhance your CV.
There are many opportunities to become a volunteer with Aberdeenshire Council
Want to know more, click on http://jobs.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/volunteer-with-us/
or visit the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Move-More-Aberdeenshire-542472342807239/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel where updates will be posted regularly