Meals and wheels in decline

meals on wheels, food, service
10/04/2018 - 07:00
Royal Voluntary Service’s meals on wheels service is experiencing steady erosion across the UK due to a lack of funding.

RVS says the private services it ran in Wakefield and Suffolk are both transferring to different organisations and the one in Hereford is closing at the end of April. Services in Pembrokeshire are set to end in autumn, while parts of Scotland are now without meals on wheels.

Sam Ward, director of commissioned services for Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), said: “RVS has a long history of providing meals on wheels in communities across Britain. However, over the past 10 years the trend has been for many local councils to withdraw their funding of this service due to their own budget constraints. 

“In other cases, councils have moved to a commercial provider. With so few services left, it became harder for the charity to sustain those remaining individual services since much of the infrastructure we used to rely on to support meals on wheels had depleted.

“The wellbeing of the older people we support is our priority and where we have ended meals on wheels services, we are talking to our commissioners partners about the best way to meet their needs in future.” 

RVS says the meals on wheels service in Dumfries and Galloway is continuing until the end of September, as are the ones in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. With all three, the charity has worked with the relevant council and identified how it can support older people locally through new models once the existing service has ended, according to a spokesperson.

A lack of funding has also affected services in North Somerset, where hundreds of elderly people have been hit by a rise in the cost of community meals on wheels.

A hot meal provided by the service has risen from £4.56 to £5 this month, according to the Bristol Post, which reports that the provider, North Somerset Council, said the price increase is necessary in order to keep the scheme going.

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