The overnight storms across Cornwall have once again highlighted the role we can all play in supporting elderly and vulnerable residents in the county.

Our 'Winter Friends' scheme is a bank of volunteers who have signed up to respond in the event of extreme weather or other seasonal events that might cause distress to those less able to fend for themselves.

For example, ahead of forecast storms, you could check the gutters and drains are clear of leaves and debris around the homes of those unable to do so for themsleves. You can make sure they are aware that bad weather is on the way and that they stay warm and dry.

During and after such events, you can make sure they have enough food and drink and that they are safe from the effects of the weather and maybe offer to collect some shopping for them whilst you are doing your own?

But perhaps the most important thing we can all do is just be around for people who may have no-one else they can turn to. Share a cup of tea, talk, listen and re-assure. Often, these things that we mostly take for granted, are the most important for those whose social circles may be diminished due to age or restricted mobility.

You can register with us as a Winter Friend by emailing mid@volunteercornwall.org.uk but of course you don't have to register with us - or anyone - to be a good neighbour. We can all do a little bit more for others without it becoming an inconvenience.