A constituent wrote to me recently alerting me a serious problem:
“I am writing to you on behalf of the more of a thousand residents who are presently receiving meals on wheels in Westminster. I am not sure how many of your constituents receive them, but my 93 year old neighbour does. (She) received a phone call from Adult Services, informing her that the meals home delivery services will stop at the end of August. She made a couple of suggestions, namely Wiltshire Farmfoods, Apetito, who do not deliver in this area, Oakhouse, which she hadn’t heard of… she also mentioned Uber eats and Deliveroo.”
I have taken this up with Westminster Council.
The Council has not renewed its contract with Sodexo and there appears to be no plans to replace this service. This is appalling.
Not all of those who receive meals on wheels are able to fend for themselves and some will be on benefits, so the meals will be subsidised, plus they may have carers who tend to them.
The stoppage of meals on wheels will place more strain – financially and otherwise – on social services and the agencies who are under contract to provide carers for those who need them. The time carers spend with their clients is already very limited – unless they are able to pay themselves.
The Council wrote to residents explaining that by the end of September they will be able to ‘choose from a menu of options’ but have provided little clarity on how this will work. Different companies have been suggested but no direct alternative to providing daily deliveries of hot meals was available as an option for residents is planned.
From the start of June residents have been receiving phone calls from social workers that in some cases, rather than providing reassurance, have led to a number of residents contacting councillors and my office very concerned that they, their friends or relatives won’t get the assistance they need after September.
Westminster Council needs to say what their plans are for ensuring that residents who need them to get a hot meal every day, making sure that they are not left paying more or forced to cook ready meals if this is a struggle for them.