The Beast from the East: How charities are managing in the snow

From Scotland in the north to Norfolk in the east and London in the south, charities have found ways to carry on in the freakish weather

British Red Cross volunteers helped deliver emergency supplies in Scotland
British Red Cross volunteers helped deliver emergency supplies in Scotland

As the weather continues to dominate conversations and headlines in the UK, there are potentially serious consequences for many who provide and receive charity services as transport and infrastructure continue to be disrupted.

Third Sector called out to charities to find out how they have been coping with the conditions. As expected, many responded with the news that they were essentially sticking to the old adage of "keep calm and carry on". In recognition of their efforts to keep their services going, we’ve compiled a selection of images from up and down the country.

Scotland has been worst hit, with blizzard conditions across its central belt. Sixty British Red Cross emergency response volunteers (main picture, above) were placed on standby to help vulnerable people and deliver supplies to stranded passengers at airports. In Tayside, two volunteers in a 4x4 vehicle were due to take key nursing staff to and from hospitals in the Perth and Kinross area.

Further south, the Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team has been helping out with ambulance assists in difficult conditions in the north west:

Some charities have used the conditions to help their recipients. The RNIB has offered this advice on how to help visually impaired children get about in the snow:

Meanwhile, as parts of London's infrastructure struggle to cope, the drug and alcohol charity Blenheim is keeping its doors open throughout the capital:

As many parents and children will know, today is World Book Day and the snow might have put paid to some enjoying a day at school dressed as their favourite characters. Staff at the National Literacy Trust have not been put off, though, and their image shows the comms team taking inspiration from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to dress up as (left to right) Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Charlie Bucket and Mike Teavee.

NLT pic

For many charity workers, service delivery in the field is their daily routine, so this week has proved particularly challenging. Royal Trinity Hospice community nurses make thousands of home visits a year to help patients and families. Here, nurse specialist Nuno Santos Lopes prepares to head out to see patients across south-west and central London.

car snow

The York Road Project, which helps to tackle homelessness in Woking, retweeted this image of a local artist using his skills to highlight the plight of those without shelter:

It's also difficult for animals in these conditions. Stephanie Callen at Redwings Horse Sanctuary told Third Sector: "These photographs were taken yesterday at our headquarters in south Norfolk, where we care for about 350 of our rescued horses (we have 1,500 nationwide). Despite the terrible conditions, as many staff as possible attempted to get to work to make sure our animals were well fed, warm and safe. Some journeys took as long as three hours. Everyone has really pulled together over the past few days!"

horse snow

And everyone's feeling the chill at Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter:

Of course, the snow does offer opportunities for fun and games, as this happy Dogs for Good's child assistance dog, Anna, illustrates:

dog for good

And Kevin Johnson took his eyes off his four-legged friends at the Dogs Trust rehoming centre in Leeds to capture this moment to treasure:

Dogs Trust Robin

Staying in the north, one Clic Sargent employee did her impression of Anthony Gormley's famous statue to a vast but apparently empty landscape:

Spotted in Sheffield was Robert Blackburn making his health & safety announcement outside the offices of Blind Veterans UK while seemingly happy to take to the road on two wheels. Brave man. 

But we'll finish off with the first photo we were sent, which triggered our call-out. It's from the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, where visitors can see two snow leopards. These engangered animals are clearly making the most of the current cold snap:

snow leopard

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