Over 2,000 elderly residents receive free cream tea in countywide teddy bears’ picnic

Older and vulnerable residents who receive meals on wheels to support their independence are being given a free cream tea and teddy bear to celebrate Nutrition and Hydration Week, 12 – 18 March 2018.

Activities will be taking place across the globe to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and hydration. The main event is a worldwide ‘afternoon tea’, being coordinated across a variety of health and care settings.

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS), the country’s largest not-for-profit meals on wheels provider, has coordinated a special event to celebrate Nutrition and Hydration Week. To raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and hydration, HILS is taking ‘teddy bears picnic’ cream tea packs into people’s homes, where the risk of undiagnosed malnutrition is at its highest – 93 per cent of which research has shown occurs in people living in our community.

Sarah Wren MBE, Chief Executive of HILS, said:

“Over a third of our clients are malnourished when they join our service, which can lead to other health problems; frailty, and loss of independence. Thanks to generous donors, cream teas will be delivered to all HILS meals on wheels clients in Hertfordshire during the week.”

A recent all-party parliamentary report on hunger which highlights the hidden hunger and malnutrition issues, showed that 1.3 million older people suffer from hunger in the UK.

“We’re really fortunate in Hertfordshire, where the county council support our meals on wheels service, when across the UK similar services are being cut” adds Sarah, “We are passionate about ensuring our clients receive excellent nutritional support, and also ensuring that our clients feel happy, healthy and cared for.”

In HILS recent client survey, 93 per cent of clients said they were better nourished as a result of HILS meals service, and clients ranked the social interaction from HILS delivery drivers as what they valued most about the service.

“Everybody needs some reassurance, especially when life is challenging. Teddy bears are a great way of reminding our clients they are loved, and can provide comfort to those in isolation or with cognitive impairment to simulate touch, and can provide a therapeutic effect.

“Let’s hope this campaign will help our clients feel special, and encourage them to eat and drink more when the teddy bears are delivered alongside their hot lunchtime meal and free cream tea” Sarah Wren adds.

HILS cream teas are available to purchase as part of the ‘Tea Pack’ service, and include a scone, clotted cream, and jam, or sandwiches, with a dessert and a snack, at the price of £3.25 per pack.