Community groups in Oswestry provide hot meals for vulnerable people

More than 3,000 hot meals have been delivered to vulnerable people in Oswestry since the onset of the Covid pandemic, thanks to a partnership between two community groups.

Volunteers Phoebe Shaw, Donna Murdoch and Steve Jones, help out at the centre where Os Nosh is based
Volunteers Phoebe Shaw, Donna Murdoch and Steve Jones, help out at the centre where Os Nosh is based

The More than Meals on Wheels service was launched in the town in May 2020 by transport scheme Qube, to help ensure people who were isolating had access to home-cooked food.

The charity’s volunteer drivers have since delivered around 40 meals per week, prepared by community kitchen OsNosh, which also provides a bag of groceries to each recipient.

Initial Lottery funding for the project was topped up by grants from Shropshire Council, and the town council agreed to chip in at a meeting in October – along with a promise to consider giving more in the future if it is needed.

Laurel Roberts, chief officer for Qube, said there was enough money to keep the scheme running until April.

She said the project had contributed to the health and wellbeing of 72 people who had benefitted from the deliveries over the last two years.

Setting out how the service was born, said said: “When we were going into Covid at the very start of 2020, we could see what was coming and we were very concerned for our members, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable people.

“We established ways in which we would be able to keep in touch with them, knowing they would be going into isolation. We set up supported shopping services, telephone befriending, information lines and newsletters, anything really to keep in touch with them so we could know how they were getting on and give them support if they needed it.

“What became clear very quickly was that many, particularly the older people, weren’t having any hot food. They were living on sandwiches and cold food. Many of them had been attending day centres where they were having hot meals, and of course when they closed the hot meals finished.

“We thought that during lockdown people would be deteriorating and we were keen to stop them deteriorating as much as we could.”

The scheme has clocked up 2,800 volunteer hours since its launch, and delivered a total of 3,240 meals.

In addition to £17,000 in lottery funding, Qube has been awarded two £5,000 grants from Shropshire Council, the town council grant, and more than £6,000 so far through a crowdfunding campaign.

"There is currently enough money to keep the scheme running until the end of April and more funding is being sought to extend it further.

She said: “The impact of the project is that vulnerable people are receiving a hot and nutritious meal each week and more often if necessary. These meals increase people’s wellbeing and their physical health as well.”

Councillors praised Qube and OsNosh for their work.

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