More Than Just a Meal

Discover more about the Meals on Wheels service that has been delivering food to those in need for almost 80 years, as the National Association of Care Catering recognises its work as a vital frontline contribution.

Sue Cawthray, National Chair of the NACC

The elderly and vulnerable living independently in the community are at risk of malnutrition and social isolation. This issue existed long before COVID-19 became part of our everyday language, but it has been exacerbated and spotlighted by the pandemic.

As lockdown increased demand on care teams visiting clients and relatives found it more difficult to support their loved ones in person, the vital role Meals on Wheels services play in the community came to the fore.

The UK’s Meals on Wheels service was set up in 1943 to deliver meals to individuals at home unable to purchase or prepare their own. Today, its value and need has never been stronger. COVID-19 saw the number of vulnerable people living in the community, confined to their own homes and reliant on others, increase significantly. In response, an army of Meals on Wheels heroes stepped up to ensure demand for this essential lifeline was met.

From established Meals on Wheels services to the lunch clubs unable to welcome their guests and the closed pubs, restaurants and cafés that transferred their skill and facilities, they’ve all worked tirelessly to deliver delicious, nutritious food to those in need. They’ve also innovated to ensure the isolated benefit mentally and emotionally from a wellbeing check and friendly face to make sure they’re doing ok and to break the loneliness that has been intensified by lockdown – all within the social distancing guidelines.

The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) is a longstanding champion of Meals on Wheels. It works tirelessly to ensure the incredible service that allows people to live

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independently in their own homes for longer and with dignity remains on the political agenda and in public consciousness. Its annual Meals on Wheels Week recognises and celebrates the life-quality-enhancing service, and everyone involved. For 2020, ensuring that the exceptional and selfless frontline contribution of Meals on Wheels heroes up and down the country gets the praise and appreciation it deserves is more important than ever.

Sue Cawthray, National Chair of the NACC, said: “From talking to our members, the onset of COVID-19 and lockdown brought about an increase in demand for Meals on Wheels services of up to 30%, made up of both new customers and existing customers increasing the number of meals ordered. We’ve also seen many services broaden their reach to help support the most vulnerable in society, such as the homeless and families in crisis.

“I would hate to imagine the plight of the elderly and vulnerable in the community throughout the pandemic if this service didn’t exist. From established providers to those born out of the pandemic response, the innovation and dedication teams

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