Volunteers ready to grit Swaffham’s streets this Christmas

Swaffham residents will show true grit and enthusiasm this winter after a group of volunteers joined forces to tackle slippery pavements in the town.

Led by Swaffham Town Council, the idea was launched so teams of people could help spread salt on icy areas, which could be potentially dangerous.

At a meeting yesterday volunteers, including town councillors Charles Gunner and Anne Tigue, met with Swaffham's deputy mayor Terry Jennison, town clerk Richard Bishop, assistant town clerk Rosie Noble, Swaffham county councillor Ann Steward and Paul Groom, highway engineer for the county council.

Mrs Steward said: 'This is fantastic. This is real community spirit. Gritting is essential to all of the town centre.

'This is the big society in action. For Swaffham this is an exciting way forward.'

She added that Norfolk suffered last year because of the ice and snow and those weather conditions made getting into Swaffham town centre difficult.

Mr Bishop said: 'Because we [Swaffham Town Council] are based in the town we get a lot of complaints about icy pavements. We are trying to turn a negative into a positive and use volunteers to make our money go further. If we get ourselves organised in the town we can get to the problem early and deal with it quickly.'

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He added that he hoped other communities could take up a similar scheme.

The 17 volunteers will be divided into four groups, to target four separate areas of the town.

The county council fills grit bins for town and parish councils, and periodically refills them during the winter, but Swaffham Town Council is establishing its own reserve to make sure the volunteer gritting team does not run short.

Anyone who is interested in joining the gritting team should ring the town council on 01760 722922.

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