WINTER is coming . . . and it's time to prepare!

Victoria Square was filled to the brim yesterday with experts offering advice on how to get ready.

A range of organisations set out their stalls for the annual Get Ready for Winter, which was organised by Bolton Council and partners.

The aim of the day was to make residents more aware of the risks winter brings and to highlight advice and information about how to keep safe, warm, eat well and prepare for the colder season.

The organisations involved included: Age UK, Bolton CVS, Bolton Mountain Rescue Team, Environment Agency, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, NHS Bolton North West Ambulance Service; Salvation Army and United Utilities.

Toby Hewitt, who is a deputy network manager for Balfour Beatty who are contracted to provide gritters for Highways England, said the average amount used across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, South Lancashire and part of Merseyside per year is 22,000 tonnes.

Toby, who is also a Bolton councillor explained: “The particular type of salt we use comes out of mines in Winsford and it is pink because it comes out of a vein which used to be a seabed there and there are lots of impurities including crustation shells.”

Greater Manchester Police’s PCSO Cassie Booth said the event provided a platform to ensure people keep their house well lit.

She said it is important even when householders were not at home to deter burglars. Police were giving away timers and invisible marker pens and a light which can be bought online which looks like a television is on in the empty house.

Barry Lyon, the Bolton service manager for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “In the winter people with a diagnosis of dementia can be worried, can get very lonely and isolated, won't eat properly, can get dehydrated and forget to keep themselves warm.”