SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack is reaching out to residents in her Foyleside constituency, interested in forming response volunteer groups or collectives, who can help out in times of adverse weather or events, to get in touch.
Councillor Cusack said: “The recent bad weather has highlighted to me that there is a serious imbalance in what areas in this city get extra help and attention from community organisations and volunteers and those that don’t.
“Most developments which fall under the remits of ‘renewal’ or ‘deprivation’ will usually have central community facilities, run by organisations such as Triax, able to respond with resources and manpower when help is required. This is of such great benefit to those living in these areas and to be commended but what about those who don’t?
“In the Foyleside constituency we have a percentage of ‘neighbourhood renewal’ areas which are covered by community supported and funded assistance.
“However we also have large residential areas left to their own devices at these times. Residents living in areas such as Foyle Springs, Hatmore, Templemore and Lower Culmore to name a few, are no less in need of help than others when problem weather disrupts their ability to get out of their homes or feel safe. We should remember that the elderly, immobile and vulnerable live everywhere.
“I am therefore encouraging fit and able residents in these ignored areas to come together to form local volunteer groups who can be depended on to help in times of need.
“These past couple of days have shown how the hilly nature of many of these developments can cause major problems for everyone, especially as gritting has to be done manually. Getting these new neighbourhood groups to pull together to help those less able, either clearing snow, salting or even checking on people, will give so many peace of mind.
“I would ask anyone interested in getting involved to please get in touch so I can compile groups of volunteers details in the various neighbourhoods who can be called on when needed. I will be more than happy to coordinate any actions. I am especially keen to see young people and parents get involved. Derry people are notoriously kind and eager to help others but sometimes just don’t know how, I believe this project, if successful will fill a gap and serve a population too long ignored by other agencies.”
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