The Winter Squads consist of four volunteers and help local residents during the winter months by clearing ice and snow from paths, help with shopping, arrange medical appointments and generally check on people during extreme weather.
Volunteers undertake training and are issued with uniform and equipment. They are based in local communities and make links with more vulnerable residents and referral agencies identifying areas in their villages where help may be needed. They can provide information on local activities and facilities and also refer people onto other agencies for further help and support.
During 2010/2011 there was four squads in Blackhall, Shotton, Murton and Thornley managed by East Durham Trust. During winter 2011/2012 this was increased by a further four groups and included Hesleden, Trimdon, Eastlea and Haswell Mencap
Winter Squads was supported by East Durham Area Action, Partnership, Durham County Council and County Durham Community Foundation.