In 2007, Hertfordshire County Council supported the establishment of Hertfordshire Community Meals (HCM) as an independent, not-for-profit, organisation to deliver meals on wheels across the county.
The organisation began in 2007 with one site in Letchworth, two vehicles, and a team of volunteers delivering meals in the North Hertfordshire district. By 2013, the remaining nine Hertfordshire districts had transferred their clients to HCM and four sites were established across the county in Hemel Hempstead, Letchworth, St Albans, and Hertford. We still operate out of these four sites.
In April 2015, Hertfordshire Community Meals began operating as Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS). This name change was to reflect that we do far more than deliver meals. HILS was now offering a range of services to help keep people healthy, happy, and independent.
We want to increase our impact and reach even more people, so in recent years we have established meals services in new areas. In October 2022 we began delivering meals on wheels across West Sussex, on behalf of West Sussex County Council; as well as taking on clients in Bedfordshire. Following our expansion into these two counties, in October 2023 we took on the meals on wheels service in Hampshire.
So that our name truly represents what we do, in October 2023 we changed our name to Health & Independent Living Support (HILS).
Our approach and ethos
We are a charitable social enterprise. This means that we trade to do good and support people, as well as reinvesting any surplus into helping our clients. We have contracts with Hertfordshire County Council and West Sussex County Council to deliver meals on wheels on their behalf. We also receive some money from other organisations. We always try to do more every year so that we remain good value for taxpayers.
As we believe in paying people a fair wage, all of our staff are paid at least the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage. We only use paid staff to deliver our meals, with volunteers providing vital support to deliver our other services. We are committed to keeping the gender pay gap small, you can view our Gender Pay Gap Report here. We also believe in helping people back into work. We employ people who have faced barriers to working for a wide range of reasons and we have helped them to thrive in the workplace with training and support.