The snow in March this year was something to behold. Uncharacteristic for the South West of England, the unseasonable weather brought everything to a standstill.
Most people accepted their unexpected holiday with resign, elation, snowballs or sledging.
But as a health-care provider we cannot allow the weather to get in the way of our work. We provide vital services for vulnerable people and letting our delivery slip is not an option. Not even for a day.
Luckily for us, back in March, the community pulled together around us. Out of the red weather warning emerged some much needed Blitz spirit, and 4*4 drivers – fourteen of them in total, came to aide our carers and managers deliver a continuous service.
Many of these drivers have already contacted us this year pledging their help in the event of snow, and we are so very grateful for their support.
Experts are predicting a long, cold winter, though. And although the Devon and Somerset are more mild than the rest of the country, as a care agency, we need to be prepared for the worst that the winter can throw at us.
Though we have drivers in place, as part of our severe weather plan, we thought of renting a four-wheel-drive, all-terrain car. However, by the time a weather warning is announced, demand is so high that we couldn’t guarantee that we would be able to get hold of one.
Instead, we’ve welcomed one more car to our fleet.
Our new RAV4 is equipped with winter tyres and will go anywhere, in any weather – exactly what we need to ensure the continuity of our care packages, throughout the winter. At the very least, it will ease the load carried by our volunteer drivers.
During a severe weather event, those carers who can walk locally will serve a manageable route on foot. For those that need to travel – especially when delivering care packages in the villages around Taunton, Wellington, Bridgewater and the Devon/Somerset Border – a 4×4 driver will pick the carer up from home, drive them around for their shift, and drop them back home.
Having this severe weather plan in place gives us the best chance to keep our carers and clients safe during an episode of weather like the one we experienced eight months ago.
But, of course we are always looking to sure up this plan.
If you own a 4×4 – or if you know anyone who does – we would welcome the help and we pay drivers for their time. Where possible, we would like to meet drivers in advance, so that when the harsh weather strikes, it is easy to coordinate with them.
If this sounds like something you could do, please get in contact. Our phone number is 01823 668400.