A NEW door to door hot meals service geared at feeding hundreds of vulnerable Warwickshire residents has hit the road.
The former meals on wheels service – run by Apetito and commissioned by Warwickshire County Council – stopped operating at the end of June, leaving the county’s elderly and vulnerable residents without a service which delivered hot meals direct to their door.
WCC had been subsidising meals by £2 a time to some 400 residents before axing it to cut costs, which in turn left Apetito unable to afford to operate the service.
Concerns were raised the decision could leave vulnerable and elderly going hungry, or risk them seriously injuring themselves or even burning down their homes, if left to cook for themselves.
But local charity WRCC, known for its Back&4th community transport minibuses and network of Warm Hubs, stepped in and announced they were setting up a new Community Food Fleet Service. Its mission was to provide door- to-door meals to all those who needed them throughout Warwickshire and it is now up and running.
WRCC did intend to launch the new service at the beginning of July. At the time they acknowledged it was a challenging deadline but one which reflected residents’ need.
Premises and vehicles were swiftly secured and all involved were keen to get the service on the road but there were some unforeseen delays.
However, WRCC’s new community food fleet began making deliveries this week in what they still believe to be a remarkably quick timeframe.
Residents will also see some familiar faces, as the charity has employed several former drivers who delivered hot meals before.
WRCC’s Chief Executive, Kim Slater, said: “We’re delighted that our team of drivers are now out on the road helping those members of our community who need it most. We’re providing more than a meal for residents, as our drivers can also make sure people are safe and well in their homes, supporting their wellbeing and providing peace of mind for relatives.”
Meals are available seven days a week, 365 days a year and cost from £7.
The charity is transparent about the need for higher prices, as WCC has withdrawn its subsidy and VAT will also apply.
But the charity says this is where other organisations can help to make the service more affordable.
Colin Parrott, WRCC’s Chair of Trustees, added: “We’re also renewing our call for other responsible charities, local councils and commercial organisations to join us in our mission to provide hot meals to all those who need them in Warwickshire. This is your chance to help make a difference for many vulnerable residents, especially as we head towards what’s likely to be another difficult winter. Please get in touch to explore how we can work together.”