Meals on wheels under threat

PIC BY ESME ALLEN FOR NEWS 'CHICKEN CHASSEUR WITH PEAS AND POTATO CROQUETTES A TYPICAL MEAL AT JAMES GILLESPIES'S HIGH SCHOOL
PIC BY ESME ALLEN FOR NEWS 'CHICKEN CHASSEUR WITH PEAS AND POTATO CROQUETTES A TYPICAL MEAL AT JAMES GILLESPIES'S HIGH SCHOOL

A petition to save East Dunbartonshire’s meals on wheels service has collected more than 3,000 signatures.

Volunteers contacted the Herald horrified the service was to be ditched after being provided by the Royal Voluntary Service (RSV) for 40 years.

The RSV said the trend for councils to withdraw funding from the service due to budget constraints had meant it had become harder for the charity to sustain it.

The Change.org petition, set up by Garry Watson, who describes himself as an RVS volunteer, states: “As from March the meals on wheels programme will be discontinued, instead these individuals will be expected to travel to a lunch club as no alternative has been put in place.

“The whole essence of meals on wheels is delivering the meal as people struggle or are unable to leave the house or even cook for themselves.

“I am absolutely outraged and very worried for the elderly who use this service as I believe many will genuinely struggle.”

Sam Ward, director of commissioned services for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Over the past 10 years the trend has been for many local councils to withdraw their funding of this service due to their own budget constraints.

“It has become harder for the charity to sustain those remaining individual services, since much of the infrastructure to support meals on wheels has depleted.

“The wellbeing of the older people we support is our priority and we are talking to our commissioner partners in Dunbartonshire about the best way to meet their needs in future.”

East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer (HSCP) Susan Manion said there had been no current proposal to reduce or change the funding to the RVS.

She added: “Unfortunately, we have been advised the RVS will be concluding their service from the end of March. We recognise how important this service is and are fully engaged with local voluntary service partners to arrange an alternative service provider.”