Call for Teries to get behind ‘Resilient’ bid

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A public meeting due to be held on Wednesday night to help Teries cope during bad weather and emergencies, was cancelled due to the snow.

However, local officials have said that wintry blizzards which hit the town overnight have helped to highlight the importance of the town becoming a ‘Resilient Community’.

Backed by local, Scottish and UK governments, the initiative aims to give locals the expertise to help themselves in adverse situations – and a plea has been made to ensure Hawick joins a growing list.

Kevin Sewell, assistant emergency planning officer with Scottish Borders Council, said: “The meeting was cancelled because we [emergency planning] had to activate the emergency control centre within HQ, in response to weather conditions.

“But we are looking for people of secondary school age and above who are prepared to assist their community in an emergency situation.”

The bid has already been backed by Hawick and Burnfoot Community Councils, with thousands of leaflets appealing for people to sign up to volunteer already posted through letterboxes.

Mr Sewell stressed: “It is not an onerous task and many of the resilient community groups in the Borders have fortunately never had to be activated. But they are ready should their services be required.”

Such services might include clearing snow around a care home, or laying sandbags prior to a flood.

Mr Sewell, who has been developing the process for more than three years, added: “Currently we have 30 resilient community groups and another 10 will be established this year. It should be noted that we have volunteers in their 80s and 90s.”

Hawick Community Council chair Marion Short has been a driving force in the bid for Hawick to become ‘resilient’, and says this week’s weather provided the perfect example of the need to muck-in. “Checking on neighbours is of particular importance with the type of situation we had last night,” she stated. “While I know we all do this, I require a register of folk who I know can help.”

But she warned: “I know public perspective is that the concil should be dealing with snow clearing and flood duties, but given the cutbacks imposed, that’s where the resilient community can be very effective. But to date the response has been quite poor.”