Since 1993 Age Concern Forest of Dean has delivered hot meals into the homes of older people living in the area, helping reduce the isolation and loneliness associated with old age.Age Concern also supplies meals to Luncheon Clubs and supports volunteers setting up new clubs and centres to enable older people to get together.
Delivering more than 30,000 meals per year – or about 700 meals weekly – Age Concern offers a diverse range of fresh-cooked three course meals, five days a week at a cost of £3.20 per meal.
The menu includes a selection of soups, main courses including roasts, pies and hotpots, freshly cooked vegetables and puddings including crumbles, trifles and steamed delights such as pineapple upsidedown & custard.
Meals are delivered by a band of dedicated volunteer drivers, who chat to the elderly customers and dish up an average of eight to 12 individual meals daily, giving them the opportunity to offer to arrange any additional support if required.
Situated in the top floor of catering and retail premium meats supplier Ensors Gloucestershire, at the Enterprise Centre, Cinderford, the service is run by Kim Worgan.
Kim manages a dedicated team of eight staff who have been working together for more than eight years.
“The staff are very loyal and do stay a long time. We are a small bunch and like working together,” explained Kim.
“The hot food leaves here at 11.30am and the last meal will be served by 1.30; keeping the food hot for two hours is no problem.
“Rieber supplied a package of equipment for the original kitchen including the Metos combination oven and hot cupboards, fryers, range and sinks, as well as the individual and bulk Thermoport boxes. Some of the boxes are as old as the service, 17 years and they have lasted well considering they are used every day! We bought more boxes two years ago and as long as the food is hot when it goes into the boxes, it will keep hot for the two hours.
“Once cooked, the hot food takes about 45 minutes to dish up into the individual and bulk boxes. Today (the week before Christmas), we have 92 individuals, 34 bulk boxes and seven large boxes that have gone out, containing a traditional Christmas lunch including soup, roast turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and mince pies.”
The kitchen wall carries an award from the local council for supporting local food producers and Kim explained that fresh vegetables produced on local farms is delivered daily by a local wholesaler. This is supplemented by the use of one frozen vegetable daily to balance the menu and workload.
Ensors are used for all meat requirements: “Robert Ensor has been fantastic in supporting us by covering our energy costs,” says Kim. “We are here courtesy of Ensors and that has allowed us to stay on top of demand. We are also grateful for the ongoing financial support of Forest of Dean District Council and Gloucestershire County Council who subsidise this service to the elderly members of our community.”
CONTACT: Age Concern Forest of Dean 01594 845621
HOT FOOD DELIVERY, GUARANTEED
With a working life of around 15 years, the cost of using Rieber’s individual Thermoport boxes works out at under 3p per meal!