Special collection of case studies spotlights vital frontline contribution of Meals on Wheels services

For Meals on Wheels Week 2020 (2-6 November), the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has produced a collection of special case studies to illustrate the incredible frontline contribution of UK Meals on Wheels services.

The inspirational case studies, which can be downloaded from the NACC website, capture the agility and the vital role played by all types of Meals on Wheels services in supporting the elderly and vulnerable throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – from the established providers who extended their services to include the homeless and families in crisis, to the cafés, pubs, restaurants and hotels that adapted their skills and facilities to support their communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw the number of vulnerable people living in the community, confined to their own homes and reliant on others, increase significantly. The response from Meals on Wheels providers and the hospitality sector was phenomenal. As demand for the essential lifeline increased up to 30%, an army of Meals on Wheels heroes stepped up and innovated to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of the elderly, vulnerable and isolated continued to be cared for, whilst overcoming the challenges of and adhering to the Government guidelines and restrictions. As well as delivering a daily nutritious meal, they also delivered important wellbeing checks and a friendly face to break the loneliness, which was intensified by lockdown.

Sue Cawthray, national chair of the NACC, said: “The elderly and vulnerable living independently in the community are at risk of malnutrition and social isolation. This has always been the case but in times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the important issue is exacerbated and highlighted. And with it, the vital social need for Meals on Wheels services to help combat the issue is spotlighted.

“We have produced this important collection of inspiring case studies to illustrate the significance of the service within the community. It clearly demonstrates the vital frontline contribution Meals on Wheels services make and how they always innovate and adapt to ensure those in need continue to receive the essential, life-quality-enhancing social lifeline that is so much more than just a meal. We’ve heard wonderful stories of how the daily visit as part of the meals delivery lifted spirits when most needed. And how teams continued to go above and beyond for their clients, even when faced with operational challenges. For example, birthdays continued to be celebrated on doorsteps and for VE Day, many found an extra treat in their delivery, such as a piece of Victoria sponge, to make sure they too could join in the special celebrations.

“The NACC is a longstanding champion of the Meals on Wheels service and we work tirelessly to promote its social value to governments, local authorities, associations, business, charities, and the public. As the past months have made very clear, its vital role in alleviating malnutrition and social isolation must never be underestimated. It’s more important than ever that this message is clearly delivered and understood and that the value of Meals on Wheels services is properly recognised.”

For more information about Meals on Wheels Week 2020 and to download the case studies go to https://bit.ly/NACCMOW20