Big freeze heroes!

Release Date: 12-Jan-2010
KNH staff have shown ‘true grit’ in the past few days, going out of their way to help customers and the general public stay safe.
A typical scene

A typical scene

Estate caretakers have been working flat out to clear snow from all sheltered housing complexes and other areas with elderly, disabled or vulnerable customers, including a number who needed to get to vital hospital appointments.

In Cleckheaton, they helped get a stranded ambulance back on the road, and in Crosland Moor, they dug out a lady who would have missed her wedding otherwise.

They’ve defrosted pipes, helped mop up after any that have burst, and in one particularly bad flood, helped move a family to a new house.

Estate staff have been checking on elderly and vulnerable customers, making sure they have everything they need and even cooking meals for two whose home helps weren’t able to get to them.

Staff from the Older People’s service have been extra busy too, covering for snowed-in colleagues to check on elderly residents and carry out home care tasks, doing residents’ shopping and keeping the paths around sheltered housing complexes clear. Their families and friends have also helped make sure they could get to work.

And in Dewsbury, the recent gas problems prompted KNH staff and colleagues from the council and Northern Gas Networks to work together with local people to pass on important information and updates.

KNH caretakers and neighbourhood housing teams checked on every customer and were able to offer help and support to those who were struggling to cope.

The Shaw Cross tenants and residents’ association (TRA) provided a lifeline for dozens of local people by opening up the community centre, providing some warmth, company, free refreshments and children’s activities. A number of residents also made lunch for the contractors who were working outside to repair the gas lines.

Kay Stalton, Chair of Shaw Cross TRA, said: “There was no point just sitting at home in the cold - we were all in the same boat so everyone pitched in to help at the community centre, including the gas engineers. It was good to be able to get warm, get together with our neighbours and some people have told me they’ve made new friends now.”

Cllr Shabir Pandor, the cabinet member responsible for housing, said: “The situation at Shaw Cross and Hanging Heaton presented massive challenges for all involved, but everyone rose to the occasion admirably and put in fantastic efforts to help people who were affected in extremely challenging circumstances.”

KNH’s Chief Executive, Simon Rogers, said: “I’m very proud that our staff have worked with such dedication and professionalism in the most difficult conditions, not just in Dewsbury, but across Kirklees – and I know they will continue to do so.

“We want to make sure that our most vulnerable customers are safe and warm during this extreme weather. If any of our customers need help but don’t have neighbours, family or friends to ask, they should contact their neighbourhood housing team so that we can see how we can support them.”

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