Protest to take place tonight against plans by Brent Council to axe meals on wheels service

Brent Fightback will hold a protest against plans to axe the borough's meals on wheels service

Brent Fightback will hold a protest against plans to axe the borough's meals on wheels service - Credit: Archant

An anti-cuts organisation will lobby Brent Council this evening over plans to axe is meals on wheels service for vulnerable residents.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani

Cllr Krupesh Hirani - Credit: Archant

The proposals, which are due to rubber-stamped at an executive meeting at Brent Civic Centre, will result in individuals being forced to buy their meals directly from a variety of community groups, charities and local businesses.

Residents could even order ‘meals to go’ from their favourite restaurants and takeaway food outlets using the Direct Payment card.

The scheme is expected to save the council £300,000 a year however Brent Fightback claim users of the service could be left to go hungry.

The group will hold a protest outside the £90m building.

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Michael Calderbank, Brent Fightback spokesman, said: “It’s shocking that Labour councillors are backing this “Big Society” initiative simply to slash spending on core services.

“If it goes wrong some of the most vulnerable people in the borough will be left without meals.

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“We also want to know whether the people preparing and delivering these meals for charities and community groups will be paid for their work.

“It’s clear that this scheme is not being driven by the needs of the people who rely on Meals on Wheels – it’s all about cutting costs, regardless of the potential impact.”

If the plans go ahead the council’s contract with Apetito to supply the borough meals on wheels will end on November 30.

Brent Council said they have enlisted the services of charities Age UK and Elder’s Voice to help residents make the right choices.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adult social care, said: “The traditional way of delivering meals on wheels has not been keeping people engaged with their local community.

“It’s also becoming uneconomical as demand for the service has reduced over the years.

“Using local suppliers is a great way of harnessing the talents and goodwill of Brent’s vast network of community groups to actually give residents more choice over what they eat.

“There are also massive social benefits for this group of vulnerable and often isolated residents to having their food delivered by local people from their own communities. It will help people to feel more involved in what’s going on in their neighbourhoods which can only be a good thing.”

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