Newham Council scraps home meals service for elderly and disabled

PUBLISHED: 12:01 06 February 2012

Newham Council is to scrap its meals on wheels provision for vulnerable residents because it is no longer ‘financially viable’.

The authority is seeking to break its five-year £2.1 million contract with supplier CM Fresh Foods one year early. It will not have pay any financial penalty.

Instead, elderly and disabled residents will now be given extra support and advice on how to prepare their own meals or pick other services.

The proposals, which were approved at a cabinet meeting last month, will also affect regulars at the Newham Resource Centre for Older People in Plaistow.

Businesses will be offered the chance to operate a cafe from the centre offering hot and cold meals and snacks.

In her report to the cabinet, Grainne Siggins, divisional director - adult services transformation, said the decision would free up money to provide users with extra support.

She added: “The service is no longer financially viable, it does not provide value for money.

“Individuals will be supported to find local solutions, become more resilient and less reliant on the local authority providing the meals.”

Val Fone, director of Action and Rights for Disabled People in Newham, said the decision could get a mixed reaction from users.

She said: “In a way it’s a good thing because it gives people the opportunity to say ‘I didn’t like that lunch at the Resource Centre’ I want to get out and make my own decision.

“But you become used to a framework and then it’s taken away from you and you are left on your own”

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