Meals on wheels service at risk in Harlow

Politics / Fri 30th May 2014 am31 07:31am

ESSEX County Council has begun a six week public consultation into the Meals on Wheels service.

Due to increasing pressures on funding and a reduction in the numbers of customers, Essex County Council is reviewing how Meals on Wheels are provided and considering whether an increase in price is necessary.

To understand the impact a change in service provision could have, the local authority will undertake a six week consultation with existing customers and residents. The consultation will explore alternative ways of providing a hot meal, community support options such as lunch clubs and community groups, and removing or reducing the subsidy paid by the council. The service itself will not be removed although the cost could be increased depending on the consultation outcome.

Essex County Councillor Anne Brown, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “I am aware that for some residents meals on wheels is a vital service, however as alternative options have appeared in the market – such as supermarket home delivery and community lunch clubs – the number of customers has fallen which means it is difficult to continue to provide the service in its current guise and provide value for money for Essex taxpayers.”

The consultation will run until 7 July. All customers will received a copy of the consultation in the post, along with support and guidance on how to complete the survey; the consultation can also be found online at: http://surveys.essexinsight.org.uk/TakeSurvey.aspx?PageNumber=1&SurveyID=l8MM697&Preview=true

Following the consultation Essex County Council will collate and analyse all responses. The responses will form the basis of a report that will put forward suggestion(s) on the future pricing structure of the Meals on Wheels Service. The authority hopes to be able to feedback on the public consultation in the summer.

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