Westminster Labour is disappointed to learn that Westminster Council has been unable to find an alternative supplier of hot meals for the elderly in Westminster.
The leadership of the Conservative-run Council have know since March that the meals contractor, Sodexo, would not be continuing to provide the service, with warning signs over the future of the contract apparent since at least 2018, but information only became public in June when residents contacted opposition Labour members concerned by reports that the service was being withdrawn from their friends and family.
Efforts by the Council to find an alternative hot food provider have not been successful. Instead it is offering to buy microwaves and freezers for those who do not have them and providing additional homecare support to help with meal preparation on a case by case basis.
Labour Group Leader Councillor Adam Hug said “It is hugely disappointing that Westminster Council has been unable to find an alternative meals on wheels provider. Detailed planning for alternative arrangements should have started much earlier and as a result 120 of Westminster’s most vulnerable residents will no longer be getting an equivalent service that they have relied on.
While we welcome homecare support to former ‘meals on wheels’ users to prepare meals, this must be offered to all users who want it and be extra time, not an extra task wedged into the existing, often limited, time homecare workers have with residents.
It is essential that friends and family members are not pressured into providing support with meals in place of the Council, except where it is the first preference of both the vulnerable resident and their families and where they are supported to do so. There is also further scope to work with community kitchens, something that is being looked at by the Council now but could have been developed further by this stage with improved planning.”