We have put together are some hints and tips to stay safe in the colder snaps as the continued cold winter weather and snow on its way, whether that’s your commute to work or an afternoon in the park.
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough on the streets, there are some local organisations that can give advice and support.
You can report a rough sleeper by emailing the Somerset Outreach Team.
They will need a description of the person if possible, their location and what is there (i.e tent, sleeping bag etc). The Outreach team will aim to visit the location and assess the person’s needs within two days.
When the temperature is below zero the Outreach Team aim to get everyone off the street into short term emergency accommodation.
Please also see Somerset Council’s Housing Support page for details about Somerset’s emergency accommodation, especially in the colder weather snaps. You can also call Somerset Council on 0300 123 2224. If calling after 5pm, on a weekend or on a bank holiday, call the out of hours service on 0300 123 2327.
StreetLink exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.
The street outreach services that StreetLink connects people to are for adults only. If you believe that the person you are concerned about is under 18, please call 999.
StreetLink rough sleepers emergency number: 0300 5000 914
For more information visit our Help for Rough Sleepers in Frome page.
With energy prices soaring, keeping our homes warm is a financial worry for many. We’ve compiled a list of ten things you can check at home to put yourself in the best position to stay warm and well this winter. We have also produced a Cost of Living leaflet which signposts to projects, places, community groups as well as help and support that might be needed this coming winter including a calendar of ‘Warm spaces’ in Frome.
There are also Winter Warmth Packs available from Frome Town Hall. You can find out more about these and more information on keeping warm on our Warm and Well page.
You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment. The Somerset Energy Saver website also has lots of information on how to reduce your energy bill and what financial help is available.
Our Healthy Homes team run regular free Energy Advice sessions to answer your questions about lowering energy bills, moving to low carbon heating, home insulation or dealing with energy debt. Find out more on our Healthy Homes pages.
If you’d like to get out of the house for a while, there are a number of dedicated Warm Spaces in Frome where you can spend time with no obligation to spend money. Some of these also have free or low cost hot food available:
Your health and care
Cold weather can affect your health. For the majority of people, taking a few simple precautions and following guidance from the NHS will ensure that you are safe and warm during cold weather. However, some people may be more at risk of heart attacks, stroke, flu, falls or other ailments. Learn more from the NHS Website about keeping well in winter.
Tips on keeping well in the cold
- Wear several layers of clothes rather than one chunky layer – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat
- Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don’t use both at the same time
- Have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly
- Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs
- Stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm
- Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather
- Remember, some people who are considered to be at most risk can get a flu jab free on the NHS
Check up on relatives and vulnerable neighbours
It’s really helpful to look in on relatives, older neighbours and those with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems, who might be more vulnerable to the cold, to make sure they: are safe and well, are warm enough – especially overnight and have food and medicines available so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.
If you’re worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact NHS 111, or freephone the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am-7pm every day) or visit the Age UK website for advice.
Who does what to keep our town accessible?
In the same way that lots of organisations work together to keep the town clean, there are lots of people involved in keeping the town as accessible and safe as possible when the winter weather sets in. So who does what?
Somerset Council is responsible for the highway winter service in Somerset. With a few exceptions, this means they grit and maintain all the highways in Somerset, including most of the road network in and around Frome. Some of this work is currently contracted out to id verde. As part of the same contract, id verde also deliver a snow clearance service that includes precautionary salting and gritting of car parks, footpaths and pavements.
The noted exceptions are the M5, the A303 and the A36; these are maintained by the Highways Agency: Highways England. Report snow or ice on the road via the Somerset Council website.
Frome Town Council
We look after most of Frome’s parks & green spaces. In winter our priority is to make the key routes in and around these spaces as safe as possible as quickly as possible. We’ll also look to support Somerset Council in particularly bad weather where priorities for the town change. So while we aim to get round all of our spaces and places as quickly as possible, please bear with us.
Salt, grit & sand
The salt and grit in the bins around the town is there to be used. So, if you need to and you’re happy to do so please go ahead. Although please remember that it’s only intended for use on public areas, highways and footpaths and if you use it on private land (like your driveway) you could be breaking the law.
The material in grit bins will be sand or crushed rock salt. If you do have to use some, start sparingly and sensibly – a little goes a surprisingly long way. Carefully spread, the equivalent of a handful should treat an area of nearly 5 square metres (a bag of sugar will cover 25 square metres which is around three car parking spaces). Give it time to work. It won’t magically work immediately and may need to be walked in or driven on to start melting the snow and ice.
Somerset Council manage the filling of the grit bins and they are re-filled at the start of each winter season. Mid-season refills are discretionary, but if you know of an empty bin you can report it to us and we’ll do our best to get it filled.
Also, please let us know if you notice that a grit bin is missing from our map.
Plan any journeys carefully during winter weather. You can check when Somerset Council gritters are in action and see which roads are gritted at gritting route map. Get winter weather updates using Travel Somerset on Twitter here @TravelSomerset
Clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your home or in public spaces can help prevent slips and falls. Check out The Snow Code for a list of tips and advice on how to clear snow in your neighbourhood and look after others in your community.
General hints & tips
- Don’t assume that roads, footpaths and public spaces have been gritted!
- Allow yourself more time for your journeys, even quick trips to the local shop
- Check the weather before leaving the house at www.metoffice.gov.uk
- …and plan your journey ahead of time if the weather is going to be challenging
- Dress for the weather – warm and waterproof! And take extra layers with you in the car or in a bag just in case
- If you’re walking or cycling, wear sensible and suitable footwear. If you’re driving, have a sensible pair of shoes or boots spare
- Check bus and train timetables for cancellations and delays
- You can find the latest travel news for trains on the National Rail website
- For buses, contact the local service providers First and Faresaver
- You can find helpful tips about driving in severe weather conditions on the Met Office website
Schools and children’s centres
You can find details of schools and children’s centres which have let Somerset Council know about closures or restricted opening on the Somerset School Closures page.
Waste and recycling
If the snow settles Somerset Waste Partnership might temporarily cease their collections of waste and recycling and other services until conditions allow them to safely continue. If this happens then please bear with them until they are able to resume normal collections and collect all missed bins, which will happen as soon as possible. Find out more about waste and recycling in winter weather on Somerset’s Bins, Recycling & Waste page.
Other useful links
Met Office tips and advice on how to stay safe, warm and healthy at home or outdoors.