Farewell meals on wheels

Redbridge Council is pulling the plug on its meals on wheels service from next week – but has offered elderly residents advice on how to use online supermarkets instead.

The service will end on 31 July following increasing costs and a decline in demand. The council decided in January it could no longer afford to run the service.

Instead it has set out a range of alternatives, including private meal services, online supermarkets, and lunch clubs including the Age UK service at the Corner House.

One furious Wansteadium reader, whose mother will now no longer receive meals, wrote:

“Meals on Wheels supplies far more than a nutritious meal; the daily visit from the cheery Meals on Wheels delivery folk is often the only human contact many of our elderly folk get. Meals on Wheels not only fights malnutrition but loneliness as well, boosting mental wellbeing alongside physical health. People who would otherwise live in care homes can continue to lead independent lives in their own homes, incidentally saving money for the taxpayer. Damaging the physical and mental well being of our elderly folk puts more pressure on our hospitals and NHS staff, negating any savings Redbridge Council may claim they are making. Maintaining good nutrition and the human contact that comes with this, is vital when ensuring that our elderly are able to live independently in good health for as long as possible. Cutting this service puts vulnerable, elderly members of the community at risk and will also end up costing the country far more money.

Redbridge did not respond to our requests for comment, but did tell the reader that an assessment of each user was taking place. Its press release says:

Where the assessment identifies that the needs of the person using the service have increased, arrangements will be made to ensure that support is in place to provide the help they need to source, prepare and eat a meal ensuring their nutritional needs are met on a daily basis. This may require a package of care to be put in place.

It’s not completely clear what this might involve.



40 thoughts on “Farewell meals on wheels”

  1. So what happens if these elderly residents don’t have access to computers or are unable, for whatever reason, to use an oven or mircrowave? Will there be alternative care packages put in place? Unlikely. This service is a lifeline for many.

  2. Criminal. As people are living longer and we are becoming an older nation this cut is to save rising costs. How many are affected by this now? So the most vulnerable, most fragile and most needy who rely on the service get punished by Redbridge Council. Many elderly folk have mobility & health problems, don’t use (or own) a computer and can’t afford a private service. Perhaps to save money the Council members should have cut their gold plated pensions first. Alternatively add a £1 a month to the Council Tax. It just might be you who needs this service in the future. Shame on you all at L.B.Redbridge 😡😡😡😠😠😠👳‍♂️👳‍♂️👳‍♂️.

    1. I remember a time, not so very long ago, when people went into local politics to give something back to their community not feather their own nests. Yes, shame on Redbridge.

  3. The assumption that people who need Meals on Wheels will have a computer, let alone internet access and the savvy to access it takes my breath away (and not in a good sense), This is a disaster for some of the most vulnerable people in our society – and from a Labour council.

    1. To some extent the council we all vote for, to a much larger extent the national government we also vote for who give out amazing subsidies to Tory councils (remember the will we won’t we 15% council tax rise last year? )

  4. this is awful but why didn’t everyone so appalled respond to the consultation??? I recently posted about a consultation to cuts in NHS services including IVF, prescriptions to name a few…it received NO comments….but posts about dominos, parking and bluebells, need I say more?!

  5. V familiar with social care services. You have to have an assessment of need before provision of any service, including MOW. There must be a regular re-assessment too. The Council’s response makes no sense. Where are the views of our Ward Councillors, and our MP? No good talking about online shopping for people who are unable to cook!
    Were there any consultation meetings? PS what happened to parking consultation?

  6. As the person who’s mother is about to lose her meals on wheels mentioned in the article, may I thank Wansteadium for publishing this article. My mother has not bern ‘assessed’ for her needs, nor given alternatives other than a leaflet telling her frozen meals are available from supermarkets etc. Redbridge Council plead poverty, while setting aside millions for a vanity project swimming pool. For shame.

  7. Has the Council got an agenda to drive the elderly from the Borough so that they do not have to spend money on services for them ?

    First we had the green bag tax, which hit the elderly and housebound hardest, forcing them to spend £50 for a roll of useless bags, now we have this cut that hits the most vulnerable in society and leaves them wondering how they will cope !

    Yet the Council is talking about increasing the cost of residents parking permits from £45 a year to £60 a year – so where will all this money go, certainly not to providing a hot meal for those who want to remain independent in their own homes – Labour in Action again !

    1. Great point. I’ve put in a freedom of information request to see how much Redbridge Council expect to save by scrapping Meals on Wheels. Feel free to demand to know how they spend our money.

  8. Stop sending billions of pounds to third world countries who haven’t payed a penny into the system these people have worked all there life paying tax so they have to go without so they can send abroad its there money should stay here 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡

    1. Please don’t conflate the two. We also have a responsibility to less fortunate people overseas and we shouldn’t be choosing between them. The budgets are separate and there is far more waste in areas like defence and paying bribes to the DUP.

  9. Keep voting for austerity and this is what you get. This isn’t just about the food, for some elderly people the person delivering their food may be the only person they see from one day to the next. Appalling.

  10. Has anybody Emailed the Council Leader, Mr Athwal to ask if he will take responsibility for bringing misery on the elderly and housebound by ending this vital service ?

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