The community will rally to help the frail and vulnerable this winter -after 46 residents signed up to a new emergency response network ahead of this winter’s predicted big freeze.
Dubbed by deputy mayor Courtney Richards as the ‘Budleigh Society’, scores of Good Samaritans have signed up, willing to clear snow and collect essentials for those in need.
An emergency phone line has been installed in the public hall – only operational in the event of heavy snowfall – with dozens of people ready at the drop of a hat to help their neighbour.
Last winter, some pensioners were left housebound, unable to shop for supplies, collect prescriptions or even attend vital medical appointments as the town froze to a standstill.
This December, parts of England are expected to see the first -20C lows seen since the 1970s, while a frozen January is also predicted.
County council cash has also been pledged by Councillor Christine Channon to enable the town council to buy at least a dozen grit bins to be strategically placed around the town.
It follows last year when many roads and access lanes were left impassable as county chiefs were forced to prioritise the gritting of main roads.
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Councillor John Shiel, who is the town’s snow warden, said: “It shows that, when the chips are down, people in the community are willing to step up to the plate. This is the community helping the community.”
“We will look out for people - if they are snowed in, we will help. I am very pleased with the response; 46 people and the weather is still quite warm.
“When it starts getting really cold, I would like to bet that more volunteers will come forward.
“It is early days yet, but I think we could cope with a fortnight of bad weather.”
The manager of Age Concern Budleigh Salterton, Steph Foster, said: “It’s an excellent idea. Last winter, there were quite a few people snowed in and who found themselves cut off.
“There are many elderly people who live on their own.”
? The emergency number is (01395) 445566. Information and advice leaflets will be posted through doors in the coming weeks.