Agenda item

Meals on Wheels/Luncheon Clubs

To receive a presentation from Mr. Peter Amies, Head of Community and Environment, on the background and working arrangements of Meals on Wheels and the provision of Luncheon Clubs in the Borough.



The Head of Community and Environmental Services reported on the Meals on Wheels and Luncheon Club services within the Borough:


(1)          Meals on Wheels


            It was noted that, prior to 2013, the service had varied considerably across Hampshire in the way it was delivered, the choice and the price. Levels of financial contribution across districts had become unstable and Hampshire County Council (HCC) took the decision to take over the provision and funding to ensure consistency for its residents. HCC had increased their investment in the service and appointed Apetito as the contractor.


            The service, delivered in vans that automatically heated the food at a certain distance from its arrival point, was available to residents over 55 years and the standard price for a two course lunch was £3.95 and £3.25 for afternoon tea. The service had been extended to seven days a week and meal delivery in Rushmoor had increased from 19,000 in 2013/14 to 26,000 in 2015/16, this provided food for around 100 customers. However, the new service did not provide the befriending element of the original service so a “Food and Friendship Service” had been established.


            Food and Friendship was delivered by Age Concern Hampshire with support from Royal Voluntary Services. The service provided company at meal times and was free to Meals on Wheels customers between 11.30am and 4pm on weekdays. It was noted that only six Rushmoor Meals on Wheels clients received weekly befriending support. Clients were referred for the service through adult services, relatives, friends/neighbours or GPs and all volunteers were trained to identify malnutrition and general wellbeing issues. They also signposted clients to luncheon clubs, helped with daily living and reduced social isolation. The Council had agreed to a grant of £2,500 per annum for this service, which at present required only £1,000 per annum to cover expenses. As the service was in credit by almost £3,000 the grant had been withdrawn for the time being but would be monitored closely to ensure the service continued.


(2)          Luncheon Clubs


            The Panel noted that a club was held at the Farnborough Community Centre which was hosted by Age Concern UK volunteers on a Tuesday and Friday. 34 residents attended on a weekly basis at a cost of £4.50 for a two-course meal, and that a local provider provided the meals. Additionally, outings and special meals at Christmas time were organised at a small extra cost.


            The second club previously held at Place Court was now held at the Aldershot and Fleet Rugby Club and was hosted by two paid staff from Age Concern Hampshire at a salary cost of £5,000 per annum. The club ran on a Thursday between 11am and 3pm and currently had 15 people attending at a cost of between £3.50 –£4.00, with others on a waiting list. It was hoped that numbers would increase to 20 but there were some issues with transport and the limited numbers the minibus could carry. The Council provided a grant of £2,500 per annum which had been matched by the dowry left over following the closure of the Elders Club to cover the salary costs for the following seven years. 


            It was noted that transport to both luncheon clubs had been provided by Rushmoor Voluntary Services (RVS), in minibuses that were specially adapted and accessible. The Council paid a grant of £10,000 per annum towards the cost of RVS transport.


            Overall, the Council paid £13,500 per annum towards the running cost of the Luncheon Clubs and Meals on Wheels befriending service, with savings of £42,000 having been made in this area since 2015. £20,000 had been saved when HCC had taken over control of the Meals on Wheels Service, £15,000 when the Aldershot Luncheon Club had moved from the Elders Club to the Aldershot and Fleet Rugby Club and £7,000 from a reduction in the grant to RVS for transport.


            Concerns were raised about the quality of the food provided by Apetito, the state of the vans and the times the food was delivered. It was noted that vans appeared grubby and in a state of disrepair. It was also noted that food promised for between 1pm – 2pm had not been arriving until after 2.30pm, making vulnerable clients wait, unacceptably, for their dinner. Data on customer satisfaction and the number of complaints was requested, to be reviewed at the following mid-cycle meeting. It was also reported that some of the local nursing homes had appointed Apetito to provide the lunches within their facilities; all the nursing homes had excellent kitchen facilities but neither the staff nor funding to provide home cooked food for their clients. Mr. Amies would make the views of the Panel known to Hampshire County Council and report back.


            It was AGREED that:



Action to be taken


By Whom





Data on customer complaints and satisfaction of the Apetito Meals on Wheels Service be collated and shared at the next mid-cycle meeting.



Head of Community and Environmental Services.


August, 2016


The views of the Panel on the service provided by Apetito in both the home and within nursing homes be shared with Hampshire County Council with comments reported back to the Panel at a future meeting.



Head of Community and Environmental Services.


August, 2016