WHAT IS MEALS ON WHEELS WEEK?
Meals on Wheels Week is an initiative that brings together Health and Social Care sectors, caterers, service providers, food suppliers, volunteers, carers, older people, policy makers and the public to raise awareness about the importance of meals delivered in the community – whether via Meals on Wheels services, day centres or lunch clubs for older and vulnerable people.
The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has been organising Meals on Wheels Week for more than 30 years, supporting providers in raising the profile of this valuable service.
Meals on Wheels and Community Meals services afford older and vulnerable people nutritious food, friendly human interaction and wellbeing checks – all vital ingredients which allow people to live independently in their own homes.
It keeps people nourished and hydrated with a nutritious daily meal (in many cases the only one they will eat each day) and provides an essential preventative service that reduces costly malnutrition-related admissions to hospital which are adding to the terrible strain on the NHS.
For the majority of service users, Meals on Wheels is so much more than just a meal. It’s a lifeline that eases the devastating effects of isolation and loneliness. The delivery of a meal brings regular social interaction, which for many may be the only human contact they enjoy. It also provides a much-needed wellbeing and safety check, again, crucial for those who may not see anyone else each day.
As an Association, we recognise the challenging times we are living in with the cost-of-living crisis, rising food costs, volunteer and staff recruitment challenges and the shortfall in social care funding. Because Meals on Wheels is not a statutory requirement, many Local Authorities are no longer financially supporting these services and closing them permanently.
With further austerity measures on the horizon, we believe this year's Meals on Wheels week is important than ever. We need to stand strong and together, to raise the banner for this vital service that affords access to nutritious meals and well-being checks delivered to the door of those living independently in our communities. We urge everyone to join us, in any way you can, to support us in delivering our message.