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“Our Community Matters”
April 2020

COVID-19 Crisis - Meals for the elderly in West Berkshire…

Meals on Wheels service to the Most Vulnerable Elderly in West Berkshire

Thursday 2nd April 2020

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Newbury Racecourse Announce Partnership with Age Concern Newbury &District and at Swift Couriers to provide an extended Meals on Wheels service to the Most Vulnerable Elderly in West Berkshire.

Newbury Racecourse have today announced that they will work in partnership with Age Concern Newbury & District to feed the most vulnerable elderly people in West Berkshire during the COVID-19 crisis, along with Swift Couriers. Age Concern Newbury & District, who have delivered meals on wheels in the district for over 50 years, have developed a safe solution, scrutinised by Healthwatch in consultation with Adult Social Care and Public Health, which will be scaled up by working with Newbury Racecourse and Swift.

Newbury Racecourse Meals on wheels...

Newbury Racecourse are pledging their support to the initiative by providing a Meals on Wheels hub, using the available kitchens and chefs at the racecourse, to support the escalating number of vulnerable people who require the service.

Chefs from both the Fair Close centres run by Age Concern Newbury & District and Newbury Racecourse will prepare hot meals. Swift Couriers is making available technology and support to optimise delivery routes. Swift Couriers have also pledged to provide vans to deliver snack packs to outlying areas to help the most vulnerable people in the borough. Efforts will support and be supported by the emergency Coronavirus appeal which the Greenham Trust has recently launched.

The Meals on Wheels service will continue to be a paid-for service, with orders made over the phone. Those wishing to obtain the service who are over 65 can call 01635 40488 to order meals. The lunchtime service will run 7 days a week from Good Friday, with phase planning to meet the growing demand. Chief Executive of Age Concern Newbury &District, James Wilcox said:

“The Fair Close Centre currently provides a very popular Meals on Wheels service to many vulnerable individuals, but we have seen this number more than double in the last two weeks. It is imperative that we provide proper safeguarding for all those entitled to the service as demand increases. All our volunteer drivers are DBS checked and they will also be receiving bespoke training developed by Healthwatch. Wherever possible, we will provide hot nutritious meals. We know for many, it will be the only meal they eat in 24hrs. We will also support with snack packs for the evening.

Equally important is direct contact over the phone with individuals to also find out their current wellbeing. We are so grateful to Swift Couriers for their distribution and logistics expertise and support in processing the increased numbers.

Newbury Racecourse will enable us to scale up the operation with the use of their kitchens, chef and staff to meet the demand. It is amazing to see the response of so many businesses, charities and volunteers in our area.”

Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, Julian Thick, commented:

“There is a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety around current COVID-19 pandemic. We want to play our part as much as we possibly can for the most vulnerable groups within our local community and have the resource and space here at the racecourse to help with a coordinated response to scale up the Meals on Wheels service.

Working closely with the team at Age Concern Newbury & District and at Swift Couriers, hopefully we can ease some of the pressure on the current service and provide much larger quantities of meals to the most vulnerable across the borough.”

Adrian Smith, Group Managing Director for Swift Couriers added:

“These are unprecedented times and therefore we must all pull together to look after those most vulnerable. At Swift Couriers, we are committed to working with all parties to be able to scale-up this operation and provide the relevant expertise and technologies where possible and draw from our greatest asset, our people and look forward to working alongside the team from Age Concern and Newbury Racecourse over the coming weeks.”

For those wishing to support the efforts, the Greenham Trust has also launched a public appeal on its charitable funding platform, The Good Exchange, and pledged to match up to £100,000 of this funding for donations received via the platform.

For every £1 raised, Greenham Trust will match £1 to support local charities that require additional help during these unprecedented times and will go to help the charities and volunteer organisations that support those most urgently in need.

To donate money or apply for a grant,
visit The Good Exchange

Greenham Trust is working alongside many local organisations, including West Berkshire Council, Newbury Soup Kitchen, Citizens Advice West Berkshire, Age Concern Newbury & District, Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, Community Furniture Project, Healthwatch West Berkshire to support vulnerable and elderly people.

For further information on West Berkshire’s response to the coronavirus, please visit their community hub.

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