Westminster Labour is disappointed to learn that Westminster Council has been unable to find an alternative supplier of hot meals for the elderly in Westminster. It has been known internally within the council leadership since March that the Sodexo service would not be continuing, with warning signs over the future of the contract apparently since at least 2018, but information only became public in June when residents contacted opposition Labour members concerned by reports that the service was being withdrawn from their friends and family.
Efforts by the council to find an alternative hot food provider have not been successful and it is instead is offering to buy residents microwaves and freezers who do not have them and by offering additional homecare support on a case by case basis.
Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “It is hugely disappointing that Westminster has been unable to find an alternative meals on wheels provider. Detailed planning for alternative arrangements should have started much earlier and as a result 120 of Westminster’s most vulnerable residents will no longer be getting an equivalent service that they have relied on.
While we welcome the offer of homecare support to former ‘meals on wheels’ users to prepare meals this must be offered to all users who want it and be extra time, not something that can be additionally wedged into the existing, often limited, time homecare workers have with residents. It is essential that friends and family members are not pressured into providing support with meals in place of the council, except where it is the first preference of both the vulnerable resident and their families and where they are supported to do so. There is also further scope to work with community kitchens, something that is being looked at by the council now but could have been developed further by this stage with improved planning.”