Local dignitaries deliver meals on wheels

Local dignitaries deliver meals on wheels

Dignitaries, councillors, and MPs have spent the last week delivering meals on wheels across Hertfordshire, to help raise awareness for National Meals on Wheels week.

The UK’s largest not-for-profit meals on wheels service , Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS), has hosted a number of high profile visitors at each of its four sites across the county from November 6th to 10th. Guests included acting Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Cllr David Williams, and High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Will Hobhouse.

HILS is a charitable social enterprise which offers a range of services to support over 13,000 vulnerable people living in the community every year to stay healthy, happy and safe in their homes. These services include delivery of four million hot meals to elderly, frail, vulnerable, and disabled residents over the past ten years.

National Meals on Wheels week is a National Association of Care Catering (NACC) initiative created to raise awareness about the need to support meals on wheels services, which have dropped by 60% in recent years. Similar events have taken place across the country and there has been a lot of online activity, with people sharing information via their social networks to show their support.

Hertfordshire is bucking a national trend which has seen the number of people receiving meals on wheels in England fall by two-thirds in the last six years. During that period, Hertfordshire County Council has invested more than £5 million with HILS, formerly called Hertfordshire Community Meals, to ensure that Hertfordshire residents can continue to receive a high quality service and nourishing food.

HILS does not only provide meals. Since being founded in 2007, the number of services designed to promote lasting independence and good health have expanded to include: a nutrition and wellbeing screening programme, pop-in visits to ensure client welfare, dementia fun clubs, community alarms and telecare installations, medication reminders, emergency food and grocery packs, and free eye checks in the home.

Sarah Wren, Chief Executive of HILS, said: “Meals on wheels are a lifeline for many older and vulnerable people who are often susceptible to malnutrition-related illnesses, social isolation, and loneliness. We have had fantastic support from the county council to ensure that the Hertfordshire meals on wheels service continues to thrive”.

“By innovating around our meals service, we have helped to provide greater impact, supporting more than 13,000 people to stay independent in Hertfordshire last year. We have developed new services, such as pop in visits, and have expanded existing services, including offering more community alarms and telecare equipment. But perhaps most importantly, our caring team work incredibly hard 365 days a year to make sure that our clients feel genuinely cared for and part of our Hertfordshire community”.