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End of line for meals on wheels

Walsall | News | Published:

Meals on wheels provided by Walsall Council came to an end today - resulting in lost jobs and upheaval for hundreds of pensioners.

Meals on wheels provided by Walsall Council came to an end today - resulting in lost jobs and upheaval for hundreds of pensioners.

Luncheon clubs, private food delivery firms and cafes are stepping in to serve those affected by the council's decision to end its contract with current provider Sodexo.

The firm today refused to say how many jobs had been lost in the move, but said in a statement: "Where possible, we have searched for redeployment opportunities for our staff."

The move will affect 420 pensioners, some of whom will have to turn to friends and family or make private arrangements.

It is expected to save the cash-strapped authority more than £1 million over three years. Bosses say all customers have been assessed to ensure they will get a hot meal.

Workers from Sodexo were paying their last official visits to residents today.

Steve Quick, boss of The Sandwich Box in Willenhall, said around 20 people had signed up to receive meals from his New Road shop.

Pensioner Ian Ross aged 70, of Catshill Road, Brownhills, said: "I'm going to use Taste for Life who will still bring me a hot meal and pudding everyday.

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"There hasn't been a big price increase for me."

Blakenall councillor Pete Smith today hit out at the new model.

He said he feared pensioners would "be faced with much more expensive meals and at worst, go without altogether".

By Catherine Dalton

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