As Meals on Wheels Week 2020 continues to celebrate ‘Hidden Heroes’ within the MOW service across the UK, Ashley Harden-Boyle, Community Meals Manager for Woking Borough Council pays tribute to all the Meals on Wheels’ heroes that service customers across his Borough. https://apetito.link/WokingBoroughCouncil
“It’s been an incredibly busy year. And the main challenge was to accommodate the increase in the number of people that needed the service. This obviously caused issues around the number of vehicles that were available for deliveries, the increase in the number of people needed to make those deliveries, and the number of meals themselves – we were very lucky we had the support of apetito to give us what we needed.
“We ended up delivering in any vehicle handy and trying new methods wherever we could. It has been a very interesting journey and we are incredibly lucky that people from all over different departments simply jumped in and helped us at the drop of a hat – from Housing to Parking! Some people had never made a meal delivery before and they did an incredible job – we haven’t missed a single meal, any day of the week.
“The perception of Meals on Wheels has definitely changed this year, and this has been evidenced by all the clients we have taken on that would not normally have taken Meals on Wheels. It’s opened peoples’ eyes to what it is we deliver, the quality of the food, the way that we check people daily to make sure they are OK and can refer their ongoing welfare to other departments who can support their well-being”.
Leading meals provider, apetito, supplies Woking Borough Council with their meals and Chefmobil’s to cook and make their deliveries, working closely in partnership with Ashley’s team. Divisional Manager Local Authority, for apetito, Roger Hargreaves, says:
“This year has seen a unique set of challenges under Covid-19, and for our local authority customers this has meant an increase in demand of around 20% which is no mean feat to accommodate. Around 10% of that demand has been sustained even as we came out of lockdown one and now, with lockdown 2 just announced this week, we see the need for Meals on Wheels coming back centreline and forefront on the welfare agenda.
“Don’t let’s forget that Meals on Wheels don’t ‘just happen’! There is a sizeable team behind each local authority – people who are passionate and committed to helping and supporting those in need of this service. Each, and every one of the team are Hidden Heroes and the nation, as a whole, is truly in their debt”.
Ashley Harden Boyle concludes:
“The ‘Hidden Heroes’ are definitely those individuals with their ‘feet on the street’ making deliveries. Whilst we are in the office doing what we need to do to make it happen, without the drivers in the vans the service just wouldn’t be there.
“They have selflessly put their own lives at risk (and the lives of their families) to deliver meals to those who would otherwise be isolated, not seeing anyone from one day to the next, or having access to essential food supplies.
“I would like to thank EVERYONE across the country who is involved (not just my team across the Woking Borough, although I know they are all absolute heroes) for the work they do in making a real difference to people’s lives”.