To meet the growing demand for the meals on wheels service for the most vulnerable and elderly in West Berkshire during the Coronavirus crisis, the Fair Close Centre has joined forces with Newbury Racecourse and Swift Couriers. Together the partnership has developed a safe solution overseen by Healthwatch West Berkshire in consultation with West Berkshire Council Adult Social Care and Public Health. Chefs from both the Fair Close Centre and Newbury Racecourse will work together to prepare hot nutritious meals up to seven days a week. The Racecourse has pledged their support for the initiative by making available their kitchens and chefs as well as donating £1000 worth of food from their existing supplies. Swift Couriers is providing logistics technology and support to optimise delivery routes as well as vans to deliver snack packs to outlying areas to help the most vulnerable people in the area. Fair Close is mobilising a huge army of volunteers to deliver the hot meals.

Chief Executive of the Fair Close Centre, 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 in need of meals delivered to their homes 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 and we know that for many, this will be the only meal they eat each day. We will also be supplying snack packs for the evening meal. 

Equally important is the direct contact over the phone we will have with people which will provide us with an opportunity to check on how they are coping. We are very grateful to Swift Couriers for their distribution and logistics expertise and support in enabling us to meet the rising demand. Newbury Racecourse will enable us to scale up the operation with the use of their kitchens, chef and staff. It has been truly amazing to see the marvellous response of so many businesses, charities and volunteers in our area.”

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 be extended to seven days a week as soon as possible with phased planning to meet the growing demand.