COLUMN: Vital meals service marks 45 years

This month Nottinghamshire County Council is celebrating 30 years of producing and 45 years of delivering meals to older and vulnerable residents across the county.

Formerly known as ‘meals on wheels’ but now called meals at home, this service continues to be a vital lifeline for many older people and people with disabilities who live at home but are unable to prepare a hot meal for themselves.

However, it is more than just a meals service as it helps people to stay independent in their homes and ensures they stay healthy and well nourished.

Without such a service it is likely many of these residents will not have a proper meal each day, which puts them at greater risk of needing a care home place in the long-term. Furthermore, our delivery drivers are a watchful eye in times of emergency and are often the only friendly face some of our customers see each day.

The service will alert family members or the emergency services if a customer does not answer the door, has a fall or is feeling unwell.

Since 1987, the meals have been produced from scratch at our base in Worksop and we deliver meals all across the county. This is a far cry from when we first introduced a meals service forty five years ago when a wide range of organisations produced the food and the council only had eight delivery routes.

Now we produce all of our meals, we have greater quality control and make sure we use fresh, good quality ingredients. Our production base also offers employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

And what do our customers think? We find choice and variety is what keeps many of our customers happy with curries and pasta dishes gaining popularity alongside traditional favourites such a lamb hot pot. Also, a recent customer survey showed that the vast majority of respondents feel better nourished, safer and more independent by using the service.

We are very proud of our service and how far we have come to improve the lives of older and vulnerable people in the county.