Council acts to safeguard meals-on-wheels
AN innovative partnership had led to the meals-on-wheels service being saved in North Herts. There was concern that the service would have to be transferred to Herts County Council after a kitchen closed in October. But North Herts District Council ha
AN "innovative partnership" had led to the meals-on-wheels service being saved in North Herts.
There was concern that the service would have to be transferred to Herts County Council after a kitchen closed in October.
But North Herts District Council has decided to spend £70,000 towards the costs of running a new kitchen and subsidising the service over the next three years.
It will work under a new scheme - Social Enterprise - with the county council in retaining the service.
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Cllr Bernard Lovewell, the district council's portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said the continuation of the service means that it will be run by the same volunteers and staff.
"That is what we were most concerned about," said Lovewell.
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He said North Herts was "a shining beacon" in terms of its meals-on-wheels service.
In North Herts there are 450 clients receiving the meals-on-wheels service and a 245-strong band of volunteers.
The service came under threat when Beechridge House in Baldock -where the meals were cooked - had to be closed on October 1.
It then appeared that the service across North Herts would have to be handed over to the county council.
But due to an innovative partnership with the county council the service will move to a new kitchen in Green Lane, Letchworth.
"It's been a long and complicated process sorting out the new arrangements and we have had to commit funds over the next three years to allow this to happen," said Cllr Lovewell.
He said that he hoped that other local authorities across the county would join the new Social Enterprise scheme.
Cllr Lovewell has witnessed the service when he went out on a meals-on-wheels service, and he is planning a second trip with MP Oliver Heald.
He said: "The service is brilliant. Until you do it you don't understand the benefit clients get from it.
"Often the meals-on-wheels volunteer is the only person the client sees all day, and we don't want to lose that.