Leeds: Seasonal support for the elderly

Some people might not always welcome a police officer's knock at the door – but 86-year-old Mary Peckett has been glad of cold morning visits from Police Community Support Officer Nicki Cox.

The call is reassuring and comforting for the elderly lady who like many others is a bit of a prisoner in her home at the moment, with the nearby streets covered in treacherous ice.

Like numerous other elderly and vulnerable householders a friendly face and a helping hand, particularly during the current extreme weather, is often a boost.

It's something that gives the day a lift and the police have developed a scheme in the build-up to Christmas to give those on their beats some seasonal support.

PCSO Cox has been dropping in on Mary and similar residents on Meanwood's Five Estates in Leeds where she is based, helping with problems and odd jobs such as clearing and gritting the pensioner's garden path as well as assisting her with shopping.

Now PCSO Cox and her colleagues hope to consolidate the "winter warm" scheme to reach out a friendly and helpful hand to residents to check on their welfare by asking relatives of the vulnerable to get in touch with details of those in need of such backing.

The bobbies can make arrangements to call on them during particularly bad spells of weather.

Insp Matt Davison, who leads the Chapel Allerton Neighbourhood Policing Team, praised Nicki's scheme and encouraged anyone who is aware of someone in Meanwood who may be struggling in the present conditions to get in touch.

He said: "The drawn out period of particularly cold weather we are experiencing is causing problems for lots of people, but this is particularly true for the elderly or vulnerable.

"With schemes like Nicki's we are incorporating visits into our patrols and just seeing if people, who may struggle to get out of their homes at the moment, need anything urgently including food or medication."

"I ask people across Leeds to think about those living around them and if you have someone in your neighbourhood who you feel might need that extra a bit of help at this time of year please call round and see if there's anything you can do."

Anyone who would like to make Nicki aware of someone living in Meanwood who would benefit from a regular call should contact her on 0113 2413270 or email: banpt.ca@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

PA library file dated 09/04/2003 of a man smoking a cigarette. A leading medical journal, Friday December 5, 2003, called for an outright ban on smoking and cigarettes. The Lancet editorial pointed out that 80% of people in the UK were non-smokers. They had "the right to freedom from exposure to proven carcinogens," said the journal. See PA story SCIENCE Smoking. PA Photo.

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