Wheels come off meals service

‘MEALS on wheels’ provision in Motherwell has been stopped, with North Lanarkshire Council claiming a lack of demand.

Earlier this year the council formed a partnership with the WRVS to provide hot meals to elderly people in North Lanarkshire after the voluntary meals on wheels service, set up in 1953, disbanded due to a lack of new members.

Meals cost £3 each, with two deliveries a week being made and the monthly cost paid up front.

The Times understands just two Motherwell pensioners were getting meals when the decision was made.

Joe McElholm, the council’s older adults service manager said: “The council works in partnership with the WRVS to deliver a meals on wheels service where demand exists.

“The number of people receiving a meals on wheels lunch service in the Motherwell area had reduced very significantly in July of this year.

“We will continue to work with WRVS to deliver a meals on wheels services in all areas where there is a sustainable level of demand.”

WRVS area manager Alison Love claimed they had no power to continue the service.

She said: “Unfortunately, North Lanarkshire Council has taken the decision to stop the meals on wheels service in Motherwell due to a fall in client referrals.

“WRVS are now working closely with the council to address these issues.”

Newarthill woman Sadie Lawley delivered meals on wheels for more than 20 years, most recently for the WRVS, and is angry at the decision.

She said: “I and the other volunteers were shocked to be told that our services were no longer required, but given no reason why.”

When told that the reason for the axe was a lack of demand, she wondered how many people actually knew the service existed.

She said: “I am sure there are still people who would love to have meals brought to their door, not just for the food, but also the companionship.

“I know in my 20 years of doing this that many times when I visited someone it could be their only visit of the day and they were delighted for the opportunity to chat.

“I know one woman of 91 whose daughter I suggested apply for meals on wheels, only to get knocked back because she has a carer. I was a home help for many years and I know that they just don’t have the time to spend with clients.

“Are older people in general told about the service? It’s on the council website, but how many of that generation go online?

“People should have been told when leaving hospital or why not have posters in GP surgeries and day centres to make them aware?

“Or is this just simply a case of cuts before people?”

Motherwell and District Local Area Partnership chairman Peter Nolan said: “This is not something I was aware of, but it is definitely something I will be investigating.”