Support for vulnerable residents during severe weather

Council staff have been working hard to help make sure vulnerable people are cared for as the severe weather continues.

Teams are doing all they can to make sure that anyone at risk of sleeping rough is offered temporary accommodation, advice and support and are working closely with charity Changing Lives, who have made extra bed spaces available.

Staff from the council’s building and maintenance team have helped transport camp beds and sleeping bags to Changing Lives at Plawsworth, near Chester-le-Street, while the number of housing staff on out of hours call has been doubled in case of increased demand.

Lynn Hall, housing solutions manager at Durham County Council, said: “Although levels of homelessness in County Durham are very low, we are committed to doing all we can to provide extra support for those people who do find themselves without shelter during this prolonged bad weather.

“We are working very closely with our partners to make sure extra beds are available and are also providing places in supported accommodation.”

Neighbourhood wardens have been out across the county checking on vulnerable people, while the council’s Civil Contingencies Unit has also been arranging 4×4 transport to help ensure vulnerable residents make necessary journeys.

Local taxi firms have also been helping out, using their own 4x4s to drive those most in need across the county.

Care Connect, the council’s community alarm service, has responded to more than 250 incidents since the severe weather began on Tuesday, with the vast majority of staff getting to work despite the heavy snowfall.

The service has rescheduled non-urgent appointments to ensure the most essential support, such as emergency shopping and providing meals, can go ahead.

Clean and green teams have also been out to try and minimise disruption across the county – including clearing roads and footpaths at churchyards to allow planned funerals to take place.

Five funerals scheduled for Bishop Auckland, Etherley, Stanley, Chester-Le-Street and Blackhill were able to go ahead at the planned time, with families personally thanking council staff for their hard work.

Treatment and ploughing of roads will continue tonight and this evening as further heavy snow is forecast, with high winds and drifting snow falling onto roads which have already been cleared.

A number of roads remain closed at this time:

  • A181 Sherburn Hospital
  • B1283 Durham Lane, Haswell, Pemberton Arms pub to Loading Burn roundabout
  • A68 is closed north of Tow Law.
  • A66 remains closed entirely.
  • A6076 is closed between Causey Arch and Marley Hill.
  • Paradise Bank Thornley to Ludworth
  • A689 Cowshill to Alston Cumbria closed at Cowshill
  • B6295 Cowshill to Allenheads closed at Cowshill
  • C21 Rookhope to Allenheads closed at Rookhope
  • B6278 Stanhope to Edmundbyers closed at Crawleyside and Edmundbyers
  • C16 Stanhope to Castleside closed at Crawleyside and Horseleyhope
  • B6278 Stanhope to Eggleston closed at Stanhope and Eggleston
  • B6277 Teesdale to Cumbria closed at Middleton
  • B6276 Teesdale to Cumbria closed at Middleton
  • C27 St John’s Chapel to Landon Beck closed at St John’s Chapel and Landon Beck
  • C28 Westgate to Newbiggin closed at Westgate and Newbiggin
  •  C77 Rookhope to Ireshopeburn closed Rookhope and Ireshopeburn
  •  C78 Rookhope to Westgate closed Rookhope and Westgate
  • C18A Crook to Stanley Crook closed at Crook & Stanley
  • A6076 Causey Road Shield Row
  • C11 Holmside Lane Quaking Houses to Wagtail Lane, Craghead

The advice to motorists remains only to drive where necessary.

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