Attended the launch of national community meals week today at the Central Hall in Westminster. APSE’s National Chair Cllr Leon Unczur and myself wanted to show our support for a service that is coming under severe pressure as a result of the budget cuts facing local government.
It’s a classic example of the impact that budgetary cuts are having on some of the most vulnerable people in society. For many community meals is their only contact with the outside world, lonely and isolated people who are incapable of feeding themselves. Whether it’s delivered in the home, at luncheon clubs or in day centres, it’s not just about nutrition and hydration.
It’s another example of where a bit of budget transfer from health to local government would save UK PLC significant sums – keeping the elderly in their own homes longer is much more cost effective than hospitalising them.
As we ate our community meal it was also a chance to digest some of the statistics in this area:
19m community meals on wheels are served in the UK each year, a reduction from 40m 10 years ago,
Malnutrition in the elderly costs the UK £7.3b every year, with a hospital bed costing £255 per day.