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Anger after council pulls the plug on meals on wheels in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 17:30 14 August 2017

Meals on wheels

Meals on wheels

Archant

Organisations have slammed the decision to scrap meals on wheels in Redbridge

Under the scheme, residents who were unable to prepare or purchase their own dinners had food delivered to their door.

As of August, the service has ceased but Redbridge Council said users would be given support in finding alternative meals.

Angela Banner, Redbridge Pensioners Forum secretary thinks pulling the plug on the service is “terrible”.

“It’s not just a meal but contact to the outside world,” she told the Recorder.

“It’s a lifeline for a lot of people and simply taking it away is not good enough.

“The consultation was not wide spread enough and it felt like a cosmetic consultation to tick a box- we weren’t consulted.”

The council said they spoke with every person receiving the service and also consulted the “voluntary sector.”

“We will continue to work closely with those who were receiving community meals to make sure that they are able to access other equivalent and suitable services and support,” a council spokesman told the Recorder.

“We know that this may be an unsettling time for some users but we will be providing as much support as necessary.”

The council stated that residents who were unable to source their own meals will be given a list of available options.

Jon Abrams of Redbridge Concern told the Recorder: “It is disappointing that Redbridge Council has decided to cease community meals on wheels especially because food poverty and malnutrition is a growing concern as evidenced by the Faculty of Public Health - I suspect removing this support could also prove to be a false economy.

“Study after study demonstrates that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health, and meals on wheels, therefore, are often highly valued by older people for the human contact.

“It is important that Redbridge Council monitors the impact the loss of the service has on malnutrition and hospital admittance.”

Councillor Mark Santos, cabinet member for health and social care, said council minutes about discussions on the service were redacted from the public because it was a “confidential item”.

He said: “We looked at many different ways to continue the service but the decision was taken that we would no longer be able to afford to provide the meals in the light of falling usage.”

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