Villagers look to help themselves

YETHOLM is looking for local volunteers to help the village in times of emergency.

The move was prompted after heavy snow last winter cut the village off.

The idea is to find locals who can help in emergencies such as heavy snow, flooding, fire or even an aircraft crashing on the village – until the emergency services arrive, explained community council chairman David Hutchinson.

The village is the pilot project for a council and Scottish Government initiative to encourage locals to help themselves.

Scottish Borders Council’s emergency planning officer Jim Fraser explained: “The Resilient Communities initiative is based on communities and individuals harnessing and developing local response and expertise to help themselves during an emergency – in a way that complements the response of the emergency responders.”

Mr Hutchinson said: “They want people in place who would be willing to do what they could.

“It’s a common sense approach, to have something in place should there be a disaster.”

And he urged those wanting to help to attend the meeting next Wednesday evening (August 3).

Mr Fraser said the Yetholm start-up was part of council plans to set up community self-help groups throughout the Borders “to allow communities to respond and support each other during severe weather and other major incidents”.

Mr Hutchinson recalled the winter’s snow: “The worst bit was between the shop and the post office but it’s an ‘unadopted’ road and we had elderly people of 92 going along and I really thought we, as a village, should do something.”,

He contacted Scottish Borders Council and told them: “Give us the tools and we’ll do it ourselves.”

A local council official and a Scottish Government representative have since visited.

The meeting is in Yetholm’s youth hall starting at 7pm.