Today I’m launching our Snow Champions campaign.
The idea is simple. We’re giving 2,500 snow shovels and 12 tonnes of salt to people in the community this winter.
It’s because I know that Sandwell people are the salt of the earth and if we do get snowed in this year, everyone will jump in to help each other.
During the winter it can be really difficult for some people, particularly if they elderly or disabled, to get out of the house because they are worried about falling over on snow or ice.
So if you could help a neighbour by clearing their paths, or if you would be happy to help clear the pavement outside your house, I want you to sign up to be a Snow Champion (details on the Sandwell website).
Now, this isn’t about cutting services. We’re spending more money this year than ever on preparing for winter.
- We grit more than half of all of Sandwell’s roads and our gritting crews are now on 24-hour call ready to go out when it starts to get icy.
- We’ve got 7,000 tonnes of salt in supply – 2,000 tonnes more than we used last winter, so we’re well prepared.
- We will be giving 50 extra grit bins to community groups like traders associations and Neighbourhood Watch.
- We will be salting 30 of our pay and display car parks to make sure that people can still get into towns and park their cars safely to use the shops.
- And the binmen and street cleaners will also be helping out to clear the snow in our shopping centres if they can’t do their normal work.
Some people are asking about the cost of the Snow Champions scheme.
We’ve spent £23,000 on 2,500 shovels and more than 4,000 tubs of salt. That’s less than a single hip replacement costs the NHS.
So if this can save just one older person from falling and injuring themselves on a slippy path, then in my eyes, it’s worth it.
But it’s about more than that – it’s about keeping Sandwell moving if the snow comes and giving people the tools to help one another.
Please sign up if you want to get involved – I have, and I’ll be moving snow and gritting the pavements where I live in Smethwick.