Meals on Wheels Week returns on 6-10 November 2017 and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the event organiser, will be leading a series of activities to raise awareness of the important role the Meals on Wheels service plays in modern society, including a round table discussion with MPs.
The debate will engage MPs from across the political parties to discuss what more can be done with the Government to sustain Meals on Wheels Services in the UK.
Meals on Wheels services have been under continual threat of closure due to ongoing social care budget cuts and NACC research released last year revealed that the number of councils providing Meals on Wheels to vulnerable older people had dropped below 50% for the first time.
In support of Meals on Wheels Week, NACC members across the UK will be getting involved in awareness raising activities in their regions, including pop-up luncheon clubs and VIP on Wheels events that will see local dignitaries, MPs and celebrities visit the services currently on offer and even make a few deliveries themselves.
A social media campaign will also be launched on Twitter that will spotlight service users and what the Meals on Wheels service means to them and the quality of their lives.
Neel Radia, national chair of the NACC, said, “The past year has been ground-breaking for our Meals on Wheels campaign. The shocking results of our research, which showed less than half of UK councils now offer a Meals on Wheels service, simply could not be ignored and the media attention it received propelled our vital message into public consciousness and onto the political agenda.
'Meals on Wheels Week 2017 is all about maintaining the momentum and working to find solutions to protect services from further closures and even reinstate those that may have fallen foul of budget cuts.'
Radia continued, “We’re thrilled to have secured the opportunity to discuss the issues with MPs and find potential solutions to sustain and protect services. This shows that the message is reaching the right people and this is a positive step forward for our campaign and the future of Meals on Wheels.
“As uncertainty around social care budgets continues and the winter months approach, our campaign is as vital and relevant as ever. The message is very clear. The Meals on Wheels service is much more than just a meal. It’s a crucial lifeline that supports the elderly and vulnerable in the community and a preventative service that helps relieve the pressure on the NHS.
'We urge everyone to get involved in Meals on Wheels Week activities in their regions and engage with us on Twitter to help spread the word even wider.”
The Meals on Wheels service enables the elderly and vulnerable to live independently in their homes for longer. It keeps them nourished and hydrated with a nutritious daily meal (in many cases the only one they will have each day), and provides an essential preventative service that reduces costly malnutrition-related admissions to hospital that 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 is a social lifeline that eases the devastating effects of isolation and loneliness. The delivery of a meal brings regular human contact, which for many may be the only interaction they enjoy. It also provides much-needed wellbeing and safety checks, again, crucial for those that may not see anyone else during the day.