Meals on Wheels Week 2021 highlights vital contribution in communities

The award-winning national awareness event, Meals on Wheels Week, organised by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), returns on 1-5 November 2021.

The event raises awareness of and celebrates Meals on Wheels services across the country and the vital role they play in supporting older and vulnerable people living in our communities.

As we continue to live alongside and adapt to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Meals on Wheels Week will highlight the incredible contribution the service makes in combatting malnutrition, isolation and loneliness in our communities. It will also provide a platform to show gratitude to all the frontline Meals on Wheels teams that have continued to work tirelessly under challenging circumstances.

Meals on Wheels is so much more than just a meal. As well as supporting nutrition and hydration with regular nutritious meals, it provides essential, regular contact and wellness checks that support overall wellbeing and reduce isolation and loneliness.

To focus attention on the positive impact Meals on Wheels has on those receiving the service, the NACC has invited local MPs, dignitaries and industry leaders to join a delivery round in their locality to experience first-hand and share with their networks the lifeline it affords older and vulnerable people.

Kicking off the VIP on Wheels programme is the NACC patron, Baroness Barker, who joined a Meals on Wheels delivery with Hertfordshire Independent Living Services (HILS) in St Albans.

Other VIPs keen to help spread the word include Andy Jones, the chair of PSC100, Robert Richardson, the chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, Paul O’Brien, the chief executive of Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and Caroline Bovey, the chair of the British Dietetic Association (BDA).

Meals on Wheels Week 2021 is bringing back #mealsonwheelsheroes, the social media initiative that shows gratitude to Meals on Wheels services and their teams as they continue to deliver their life-enhancing services against the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NACC is once again calling on everyone – from its members, industry colleagues, partners, associations and friends to local government, politicians, celebrities and the general public – to take to social media to publicly declare their support and gratitude for all Meals on Wheels heroes. They are being asked to hold a special thank you poster, have their photograph taken and then share it on their preferred social media platforms using the hashtag #mealsonwheelsheroes.

The #mealsonwheelsheroes poster can be downloaded at
Neel Radia, Meals on Wheels lead for the NACC, said: “This year, like the last, has seen the Meals on Wheels service still under immense pressure as it serves meals throughout the pandemic. We therefore feel that it’s only right and appropriate to use Meals on Wheels Week as a platform to show all those involved how grateful we are for their continued hard work and dedication. We encourage everyone to get involved with #mealsonwheelsheroes so we can show our collective gratitude.

“At the same time, we’ll be highlighting the incredible value the service is having in our communities through our VIP on Wheels initiative. Meals on Wheels is so much more than just a meal and we’re very grateful to everyone who has given up their time to take part and share this important message with their networks.”

Sue Cawthray, the national chair of the NACC, said: “As we approach our second Meals on Wheels Week set against the backdrop of the pandemic and the ever-changing challenges it produces, we once again salute all the Meals on Wheels services. They have adapted brilliantly and shown incredible determination to ensure older and vulnerable people living in our communities receive the nutrition, care and attention they need and deserve.

“Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen how Meals on Wheels services have reinvented themselves in the face of adversity. The combination of the pandemic and reducing social care budgets has changed the Meals on Wheels landscape. From this we have seen innovation, creativity and brilliant new ways of working. New partnerships between local authorities, providers, charities and hospitality establishments, for example, have ensured continued support where it’s needed. We all have a responsibility to learn from each other, adapt and ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of older and vulnerable people in the community is a priority.”