Practice case study

Helping reduce social isolation during extreme weather: Snow Angels (Cheshire)

Image from a published Snow Angels case study, Cheshire West and Chester Council


‘Snow Angels’, a community interest company (CIC), aims to support vulnerable people, including older people, by promoting general community resilience to deal with extreme weather. The CIC was established after a successful pilot study in Northwich, Cheshire during 2011/12 in which a number of different organisations, from different sectors, came together to work in partnership. Cheshire West and Chester has higher rates of excess winter deaths than other local authorities in the north west of England and older people are at risk of social isolation. Future projections indicate that the number of those over the age of 85 in the area will increase by 51 per cent between 2010 and 2020 - Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

Snow Angels combines the expertise of a number of partner organisations covering emergency planning, housing, health, and environmental planning. The Snow Angels are volunteers recruited from the local area who visit the socially isolated and undertake practical activities, such as clearing and gritting paths when there is snow and ice. Included as part of the service are weekly telephone calls to the vulnerable people who have signed up. The CIC helps to establish Snow Angels in other areas and to ensure that these local groups are sustainable beyond their first year of operation. This case study discusses activities relating to the pilot study.

Voluntary Sector