LONELY and vulnerable Sheffield residents are being given a helping hand over the Christmas and New Year period.
Sheffield Homes workers have volunteered to give up the holiday season to do everything from calling in on needy tenants to make sure they are alright to being on standby to collect food and even pensions should the weather turn icy.
Tenants have praised the work, which also includes arranging for schoolchildren to collect and distribute shoeboxes of presents for vulnerable elderly people.
Among those out and about on the estates over Christmas are senior housing warden Sharon Ward, who supervises a team of four staff covering the central part of the city - including Manor Top, Sky Edge, Norfolk Park, Arbourthorne, Heeley, Broomhall and Sharrow areas.
She said: “We are there for the elderly and vulnerable who live on their own and haven’t family members.
“We know who may need more help than others and we make sure we keep an eye on them so they are alright.
“Christmas work depends on the weather. When we had a particularly bad winter a couple of years ago, some elderly people were unable to get out of their homes.
“We went out shopping for them and even collected their pensions.”
Other items on the six estate teams’ agendas include checking communal areas of blocks of flats for homeless people.
“We tend to come across rough sleepers in tower blocks because they are heated and behind a secure door. When we come across them, we help find them interim accommodation,” Sharon said.
The 33-year-old, whose other case work includes dealing with anti-social behaviour and general problems around estates, said she has no problem working over Christmas.
She said: “It’s my job and I don’t mind.”
Among the areas helped by Sharon’s team of wardens are pensioners on the Brindley estate, Norton Lees. The wardens organised for children from nearby Mundella Primary School to provide shoeboxes of presents before Christmas.
Janet Royston, of Brindley and Mundella Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “I think the work Sharon and her team do is very valuable to people here.
“The residents really appreciated the shoeboxes in particular.”