ELDERLY residents across Warwickshire are being directed to Deliveroo as an alternative, following the axing of a community meals-on-wheels service.
Dawn Ashley, whose 91-year-old mum has been enjoying a hot meal delivered to her home in Warwick for almost two years, has branded the move by Warwickshire County Council to withdraw the vital service “nonsensical”.
She has grave concerns that the decision could leave the vulnerable and elderly going hungry, seriously injuring themselves or even burning down their homes, if they are left to cook for themselves.
Dawn explained that she had received a letter from WCC saying that the community meals service would stop at the end of May.
Unknown to Dawn, WCC had been subsidising these meals by £2 and the council had made the decision to withdraw this subsidy, in turn forcing meal provider – apetito – to close.
Dawn branded the move “nonsensical” and is concerned how her mum, who has Alzheimer’s, will be provided with a hot meal.
She continued: “I am in total dismay as I thought with the pressure on the NHS and the push to treat and keep people in their own homes, this service was vital. I would have been happy to pay the additional £2 had I been asked.
“Unbelievably one of the suggested options on the council letter was to use “Uber Eats or Deliveroo”. Do they really think this is a viable alternative? It’s an absolute joke.”
Dawn continued that she had spoken to apetito and their concern – apart from being made redundant – was that it would leave vulnerable people in the lurch.
Dawn explained: “They say some of their clients can’t use the oven and some that can, wouldn’t be able to actually carry their plate to a table. They also worry that ovens will be left on – as mum has done setting off the smoke alarm – and others may burn themselves.
“Carers will be asked to do even more in what are already very exacting times for them or additional care will be required to provide a lunchtime meal.”
A spokesperson for WCC confirmed that from May 31 a community meals service in Warwickshire would no longer be available from the council.
The spokesperson continued: “Warwickshire County Council currently subsidises this non-statutory service to around 400 customers across the county with meals delivered to people in their homes on behalf of the council by apetito Ltd.
“apetito has informed the council that they will no longer be able to provide the service beyond the contract end date in May and as the council has not identified any viable alternative to continue this provision the service will stop at this time. Customers and their families have been contacted about this and we have shared details of other meal providers and offered further social care information and support.”
apetito Ltd has been approached for comment.