Residents across Westminster who currently receive a ‘Meals on Wheels’ service through a Council contracted service by Sodexo have been left worried and confused about upcoming changes that will see the contract ended and not renewed on September 30th.
The council has written to residents explaining that by the end of September they will be able to ‘choose from a menus of options’ but have provided little clarity on how this will work. 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 Karen Buck MP very concerned that they, their friends or relatives won’t get the assistance they need after September.
One resident described being told to try contacting cold ready meal providers Oak House and Wiltshire Farm Foods, to contact Apetito (who don’t deliver hot meals in Westminster and only provide access to Wiltshire Farm cold meals here) and even told to try Uber Eats and Deliveroo. There was no suggestion that a direct alternative providing daily deliveries of hot meals was available as an option for residents. Westminster Labour supports greater variety and choice for residents provided it doesn’t come at an additional cost or create additional burdens for the vulnerable elderly, but whatever happens there needs to be clarity.
Westminster Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “There needs to be urgent clarity from Westminster Council about what exactly their plans for meals on wheels are going to be when the current contract ends in September.
If Westminster is not going to provide this service for the elderly that many rely on there needs to be urgent clarity on how they will ensure all residents, particularly the most vulnerable, are able to get regular hot meals. They will need will need to ensure all residents are not left paying more or forced to cook ready meals if this would not be practical or desirable for them. The council must also ensure that these changes don’t lead to even greater social isolation.”