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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Taming the #BeastFromTheEast

Friday, 02 March 2018


The month of March is traditionally considered to be the beginning of spring, but you’d never guess it at the moment. Whether you want to call it #BeastFromTheEast, “Storm Emma” or anything else, one thing that’s beyond dispute is that the current weather is some of the absolute worst we’ve seen in recent memory.
It’s at times like this where local government services and workers are put to the ultimate test, but I’m happy to report that so far they’ve passed with flying colours. Here’s a list of just some of the things that they’ve done for Tameside over the past week.

When it snows, the first thing that everybody thinks is “Where’s the gritters?”. Usually, in an average winter we’d expect to do around 55 grit treatments for Tameside’s roads. This winter we’re at over 90 and counting. All in all, in those treatments we’ve used almost 5,000 tonnes of salt on over 22,000 kilometres of road – the equivalent of the distance from here to Singapore and back again. Whilst the priority has been to keep main roads and emergency service routes open, our highways service has also been out in the day gritting other routes by hand and ploughing roadways that would have otherwise been impassable. Having seen first-hand how seriously they take their work in the most difficult of conditions, I want to take the chance to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to them. 

As well as keeping our roads and highways open, there are a variety of other services the council provides that absolutely cannot be stopped, regardless of what the weather’s like outside. We’ve been supporting vital frontline services like our Integrated Urgent Care Teams and Community Response Service to continue to make call outs, particularly through providing 4x4 vehicles for some of their more remote visits.

We’re also seeing the value of some of our other innovations in health and social care, especially the Digital Health Service. Based at Tameside Hospital, the service uses Skype to connect 40 registered care homes and the Community Response Service to a registered healthcare professional. Care home workers or Community Response officers can use the Skype link to get in touch for expert, one-on-one advice about any health incidents. Often this allows them to be dealt with without the need for a journey to hospital – reducing pressures on these services and keeping residents in the safety and comfort of their own homes. As you can imagine, that’s more important than ever given the current weather.

Two other services that have also kept going despite the difficulties over the past week are our Homelessness and Bereavement services. Our cold weather protocols for rough sleepers automatically kick in when the temperature outside drops below freezing. As part of that, we’ve been working closely with Greystones, Tameside Housing Advice, the police, Shelter and other support services and partners to make sure that the most vulnerable in our society have a warm and safe place to stay the night. Our Bereavement service has also pulled out all the stops to make sure that not a single funeral has had to be cancelled, postponed or delayed despite the snow, wind and freezing temperatures.

Last, but absolutely not least, I want to pass on my gratitude to our residents as well. You’ve kept an eye on elderly or vulnerable neighbours. You’ve braved the elements to keep the borough ticking over. Together, you and our council workers have shown the absolute best of Tameside, and proven beyond doubt what can be done when we band together during a crisis. I’m absolutely positive that, if we will continue to work together and look out for each other, we will get through this period of unseasonal weather intact. Until then, be careful and stay safe.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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