Out goes Meals on Wheels – in comes The Community Meal Service.

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Once Upon a Time there was a service for the elderly called the… Meals on Wheels Service… for more than 40 years it was managed by the Womens’ Royal Voluntary Service… which did an amazing job.

Earlier this year the mingey ba*****’s at Surrey County Council withdrew their £30,000 funding  towards its share of the cost of providing meals to vulnerable old people so  the service either faced  closure … or  another way had to be found to continue providing meals. 

Now one thing you cannot accuse Surrey County Council of,  is ….of not getting its priorities right. Because every little helps in spending “our money” more wisely … that of investing £30m in Farnham’s Brightwells/East Street regeneration development?

Although we have to say even The Cabinet Member for  Adult Social Care, Wellbeing & Independence  at Surrey County Council doesn’t know who funds/contributes towards the cost of MOW’s because this is what he says:

2. Surrey Council has not funded local authorities for meals on wheels. We have however reviewed grants that were made to various local authorities as it was established that those funds were in the most cases were simply merged with other income. In view of the extreme situation with funding for the Adults services (where £0.67p in every £1 paid in Council tax goes straight to funding Adults Services) we have been diligent in reviewing grants paid and where applicable changing them to contracts with specific outcomes.

Oops – is he saying here that local authorities have been dumping money in “the big pot?”Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 16.05.41

So along comes a whole bunch of plumply salaried Waverley Officers to devise a cunning plan… Out goes the WRVS… in comes “Your Waverley”s Community Meals Service… providing fresh meals  through  the borough’s Day Centres… or… maybe now, …  just a few of them?

 Because  here’s the problem – most of the Day Centres didn’t want to get involved with anything that smacked of “Your Waverley” because past experience has shown  that  Waverley’s cunning plans cost money – and that money will come out of only one pocket… and it’s certainly not the council’s but theirs! …

So… After more than six months work by a variety of officers/clerks/councillors and The Omen himself – “Our Damian”(none of whose time  has been costed of course – as  all Waverley staff are free, gratis and for nothing)  councillors heard that £40,000 (from the Council’s Emergency Fund) would be provided to the Centres brave enough to deliver the service – for new equipment needed – The Gostrey Centre in Farnham – and The Cranleigh Day Centre.  They would receive part of  the £30,000 Waverley  contribute. The new service will provide meals for …

a total of 106 fresh meals/ five days a week (frozen at week-ends and on bank holidays)   – the price of which wasn’t actually mentioned but volunteers have told the WW – they are going up from £4.50p to £5.50p and possibly more if they want tea.

Just 19 meals would be provided by the Cranleigh Centre, who require two extra staff, and the remainder provided in Farnham by the Gostrey Centre and in Godalming by the council’s own staff restaurant. If volunters cannot be found to deliver in the town we respectfully suggest Wen-am-I leaving and The Omen pop around with a few – they may actually learn something about the needs of the elderly? 

 WWethinks that maybe, just maybe if someone did their sums taking into account Waverley officers’ time, extra staff needed at the couple of centres who didn’t dare refuse to  take part, –  the exorbitant cost of providing these meals may have been better spent taking around delicious  M & S  meals for one each day? 

A totally contamfambulated (Roald speak,)  bunch of councillors said they had numerous concerns including – how would  the old people  reheat their own meals, and were told – “only if they have the correct food thermometer?” – Would the service be cost-effective?  “Well we really don’t know yet.” Would the money for equipment have to be paid back – some officers said  “yes, others  said ….”no.”

How  did the WRVS feel about being given the boot?  To which “our Elsie”  responded that they “had not been very helpful” and wanted £750 to provide their customers database. (Obviously she  heard of the Data Protection Act?) ….

 So Bramley’s Brain By-Pass – Byham called  the highly respected WRVS the “Womens Royal Involuntary Service” because it wasn’t being helpful and gets a  slap on the wrist from Communities Overview & Scrutiny Chairman Jerry Hyman who said his mum was a volunteer for many years and  very proud of it she was too!

So the upshot is: the Clockhouse  at Milford will get a black mark against its name, even though Councillor Mary Foryszewski hoped they wouldn’t be penalised for not joining the scheme. Farncombe Day Centre has opted OUT, and the Orchard Club in  Haslemere  said it didn’t have premises –  so Hazelway stepped in.

You you can watch all the Swatchcollop here if you get bored with eating, drinking and being generally merry over Christmas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Avn1u3xeI The Meals on Wheels presentation by Katie Webb starts round 51 mins in.

Katie Webb PowerPoint presentation (14 mins)

Damien Roberts comments

Nick Holder confused re Orchard Club

Maurice Byham confused about elms and bridges

Maurice asks, can you re-heat them ?
https://youtu.be/s5Avn1u3xeI?t=4077 (Yes, once, if you have a suitable thermometer, otherwise you’ll die).

Mary Foryszewski re changeover & new users

Andy Macleod queries number of only 106 across borough.

Damien comment
https://youtu.be/s5Avn1u3xeI?t=4331 (We expect steady growth)

Chairman says: Hesse hasn’t asked – finances? “The other Scrutiny Service, the Waverley Web website” says ‘lending’?
https://youtu.be/s5Avn1u3xeI?t=4453 (Told we are paying for it).

Risk in changeover: Relying on existing volunteers, report back?

£4 a meal ?
https://youtu.be/s5Avn1u3xeI?t=4604 (Katie hasn’t finalised, will be more. Risk.)

 Elsie blusters …noting unusual there!

.https://youtu.be/s5Avn1u3xeI?t=4724

Royal Involuntary Service, says Maurice (and is given a gentle slap for it)

Mary wonders whether Clockhouse will be bullied
https://youtu.be/s5Avn1u3xeI?t=5016 (‘No, I’m sure they’ll toe the line one day’, says Katie) – they can join in the future.

Nick Holder endorses; queries WBC staff canteen capacity

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