Thanks to county meals volunteers

First published in Letters

WE are all so very grateful to all those volunteers who over the years have delivered Meals on Wheels to older people, so helping them to remain independent in their own homes.

They have made such an important contribution, but I do want those volunteers to know that there is still an important contribution they can make using their special skills and experience to help with the new separate Meals Support Service, which is being launched at the same time as the new Meals on Wheels service.

This will provide the opportunity for older people to request regular visits (either weekly, fortnightly, monthly) from a volunteer around meal times. These volunteers will provide the all-important social contact and help older people keep in touch with local events and activities.

This service is being coordinated by Age Concern Hampshire and funded by the district councils. If you would like further details about volunteering opportunities in this new Meals Support Service do please contact Age Concern Hampshire on 01962 868545 or email mail@ageconcernhampshire.

org.uk.

I would like to reassure everyone who currently receives Meals on Wheels that they can continue to do so in the future and in response to recent concerns expressed in the press, reassure residents that the delivery staff of the new contractor, Apetito, will be carrying out specific daily wellbeing checks and will be trained to know what to do if they encounter problems.

It is also important to note that Apetito will be offering a more comprehensive and more widely available service.

Not only will Meals on Wheels be available every day of the week across the whole county, but the service will be open to all older people who require it, not just those who meet Adult Services eligibility criteria.

I do not consider it is reasonable to expect volunteers to take responsibility for making daily deliveries, 365 days of the year – come rain, snow, ice or flood.

Although the WRVS delivered the Meals on Wheels service through volunteers there was a charge to the council for the overall service.

However, we did not award the contract on the basis of cost alone. From April, Hampshire County Council is putting more money into Meals on Wheels in recognition of Hampshire’s growing ageing population.

Cllr Felicity Hindson, Executive member for adult social care, Hampshire County Council

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