POTENTIALLY hundreds of elderly residents across the county are due to lose their meals on wheels.
The Standard has been contacted after many people received letters saying the contract between Worcestershire County Council and provider AginCare Cuisine would be finishing at the end of September and would not be renewed.
In the letter it said there had been a significant decline in people receiving community meals over the last few years from 700 to 150-a-day.
In total 292 elderly people will be affected in Worcestershire this includes 32 in Bromsgrove, two in Hagley and 13 in Droitwich.
Agincare had decided, for business reasons, it was no longer viable for it to continue supplying the service in Worcestershire.
Over the coming weeks, residents have been told they will be contacted to discuss alternatives.
Volunteer driver David Gee, who has been delivering meals in the Bromsgrove and Redditch districts for almost ten years, said he was very upset and angry the lifeline service was ending.
He claimed service users could lose some of their independence, having to either depend on carers or relatives or, maybe, even be forced to move into a care home.
“I know the council is having great difficulty balancing the budget.
“However, I feel absolutely sure cutting the meals on wheels service is totally unacceptable and likely to increase costs in the NHS and social services.
“This is wilfully inadequate and leaves vulnerable adults and their families uncertain about their future.
“I would urge everyone to bring pressure to the council to reverse this decision and to continue to support meals on wheels for at least an interim period to enable a long term solution to be found.”
Horace Bransom, a 93-year-old from Headless Cross, has had meals on wheels delivered every day for almost two decades.
“I’m nearly blind and I can’t read, I live on my own and it will be difficult without it,” he said.
“Nearly 20 years I have been using the service and then I’m told it is just going to stop.
“I rely on the meals every day, I’m very upset about it.
“There are lots of people in my position or it could be worse for them and I don’t know what they are going to do.”
Coun Sheila Blagg, responsible for adult services, said every case would be discussed individually to find a suitable alternative.
“We would encourage service users and their carers to use the contact numbers provided in the letter from Worcestershire County Council and Agincare Cuisine.
“Should people have the facility to reheat a chilled meal we will give them details of a range of providers in their area but should it be that service users are unable to do that we will undertake further assessment to ensure that people have an appropriate alternative in place.”
She added the county council and Agincare were working very closely together to ensure all service users have a suitable alternative in place by the end of September.
An Agincare representative added: “Agincare has been pleased to be able to serve the residents of Worcestershire with community meals for the past four years.
“We would like to wish all our customers well and thank our staff for their years of dedication to the service.”
For more information call the council’s access centre on 01905 768058.