Hundreds of vulnerable people to miss out as council scraps meals on wheels service

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

A meals on wheels service catering for more than 200 vulnerable people is to be scrapped.

Croydon council said it will not renew its meals on wheels service at the end of this month, saying fewer people now used the service.

From April 30, people will no longer be able to order subsidised meals through the service contracted out to Apetito.

The decision also means 22 people hired by the company will lose their jobs.

The council reappointed Apetito in 2016 for a six-year contract worth almost £3.5million.

But according to the contract details, it now has an annual value of just £706,616 and was due to end on April 30 this year.

Opposition councillor Yvette Hopley said the cut would affect the most vulnerable in the borough – 206 people are understood to use the service.

She said: “I am extremely worried because this is the most vulnerable cohort of residents that we’ve got.

“It is always the poorest, most vulnerable that seem to suffer as a result of the cuts caused by the council’s bankruptcy.

“Voluntary organisations will be expected to support these residents.”

Cllr Hopley said people who used the service were sent a letter saying it would be scrapped a few weeks ago.

She added: “Residents have said the alternative providers will be 20 per cent dearer, and there is only one that provides hot meals.

“This means many will have to heat things up, which is an additional cost.”

And the councillor said the service also helps with social isolation. She said: “Sometimes it is the only person somebody sees, they might not necessarily be in receipt of a care package and it is the only person they speech to each day.”

In a statement on its website, Croydon council said: “After much consideration, the council has decided to not renew the contract with Apetito for the Meals on Wheels service. We have written to all our residents who currently receive Meals on Wheels from Apetito.

“The numbers of people using this service have steadily fallen over recent years and the council must consider which services it can continue to subsidise.

“You will still be able to order and receive meals from Apetito up to and including Saturday, April 30, 2022.”





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