This year Meals on Wheels Week ran from the 1st – 5th November. Throughout the week, councillors, Member of Parliament for St. Albans, Daisy Cooper, and senior officers working in community safety, health, and social care, joined us in delivering hundreds of hot, nutritious meals to our clients.
HILS has been Hertfordshire’s meals on wheels provider since 2007, delivering over half a million hot meals and reaching around 4,000 people every year through this service alone. Over the past year, our community team members have delivered 535,161 hot meals to 3,937 clients, with drivers providing 608,123 extra support services such as plating up meals and reminding people to take their medication.
Visitors included the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) patron, Baroness Barker, and their former Chairman, Neel Radia. ‘This year, like the last, has seen the Meals on Wheels service still under immense pressure as it serves meals throughout the pandemic’, said Neel. ‘We, therefore, feel that it’s only right and appropriate to use Meals on Wheels Week as a platform to show all those involved how grateful we are for their continued hard work and dedication. We encourage everyone to get involved with #mealsonwheelsheroes so we can show our collective gratitude.’
Leader of the County Council, Councillor Richard Roberts said: “It was a privilege to join the dedicated HILS team on their rounds and see just what a fantastic job they are doing in supporting our residents with warming food and vital nutrition. Meals on Wheels Week is a timely opportunity to celebrate all they have done, and I would like to issue my heartfelt thanks to them all for providing this crucial support.”
Adult Care Services Director, Chris Badger said ‘It was great to visit HILS and to thank the team for their amazing work during the last 18 months supporting people in Hertfordshire. They have been a lifeline, both in terms of meals and food, but also keeping an eye out and offering wider support for people who are shielding. I was really struck by the dedication and bravery of the team. We are really fortunate to have HILS in Hertfordshire, as they are a key plank of our Social Care System.’
Throughout the pandemic, services such as meals on wheels have become even more of a lifeline for thousands of older people in Hertfordshire. We have continued to deliver throughout the pandemic and developed additional support such as wellbeing packs and online resources. During the first lockdown, we saw referrals increase by 400% for emergency food provision. We also expanded eligibility for this support to people who were clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding.
Our Chief Executive, Sarah Wren, said: “It has been such a pleasure to be able to invite people to join our dedicated meals on wheels teams and meet our clients once again. It has been a challenging couple of years for our clients, their loved ones, and everyone who has been working so hard to support them. Meals on Wheels Week has been a great time to raise awareness and celebrate the impact and importance of the service for older and vulnerable people.’
Meals on Wheels week is also an opportunity to recognise the added value that meals on wheels services provide to vulnerable people, such as regular social contact, wellness checks, the reassurance that comes from knowing that someone will be checking in on you, and peace of mind for carers and family members who also benefit from knowing that their loved one is receiving extra support.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on our rounds during Meals on Wheels week!