Barnet Council intend to cut Hot Meal service to the Vulnerable

Hot Meals on Wheels could be scrapped

By Julia Gregory

MEALS on Wheels are likely to be scrapped in a bid to save £280,000.

Barnet council is planning to stop the subsidised service when the contract with Sodexo comes to an end next March, affecting 216 people.

The number of people having the two course hot meals has declined from 281 people in 2012-13.

Barnet council’s chairman of the adults and safeguarding committee councillor Sachin Rajput said: “The scale of the financial challenge facing the council means we have to look very carefully at every service the council currently provides.”

He said the council was visiting everyone who gets a meal delivered to them to explain the proposal and discuss other ways they can get a hot meal.

Each meal costs £7.26, with the council paying £3.11 and the resident picking up the tab for £4.15.

They are produced in Enfield, where they have been awarded a level five “very good” rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

The council does not have a statutory duty to provide the meals, but does have a duty to safeguard vulnerable adults.

In a letter to the people who currently receive the home meals service the council’s director of adult social services Dawn Wakeling said the council has been “reviewing the existing home meals service and looking at how else we can meet people’s nutritional needs through the use of other alternative services available in the community and by supporting people to live independently.”

She said in exceptional circumstances the council will consider supporting people who do not have the means to source or cook a meal.

Diners will get a review from adult social care to see if there are other ways of helping them get a meal.

They have also been invited to tell the council what they think by Friday September 18.

Neel Radia, the chairman of the National Association of Care Catering said: “Meals on Wheels is more than just a meal for older people. For some older people there meals on wheels driver is the only person they get daily contact with helping to reduce loneliness and social isolation in our community. “