Meals on Wheels clients won’t be disadvantaged

Loading up Meals On Wheels for the last time were Robert Murray and Ross Mohammed.

Loading up Meals On Wheels for the last time were Robert Murray and Ross Mohammed.

ARARAT - A declining number of volunteers and rising costs have been cited as reasons for changes to the Meals on Wheels delivery service in Ararat on weekends, however clients will not be disadvantaged.

Ararat Rural City Council manager community development and client services Angela Hunt said the changes have come about due to not being able to guarantee volunteer numbers on weekends.

Only an average of 12 clients receive meals on weekends through Council's Meals on Wheels program and all have been spoken to by council staff to come up with alternative arrangements

"We have spoken to them all individually in order to come up with some good options," Ms Hunt said.

While some clients who have 'reheating' facilities will receive frozen meals to cover a weekend others clients will receive an alternative service.

This includes clients who have had their Meals on Wheels service replaced by a personal carer who visits on weekends to assist the client with preparing their own meal.

"It is being done on an individual basis, we have had conversations with each and every one of the clients and we haven't had anyone not happy with their solution," Ms Hunt said.

"We will continue to monitor the changes and even if there was someone who needed it (the Meals on Wheels service) we would provide it by paying a staff member to deliver it."

Shane McMahon picks up the last weekend Meals on Wheels from East Grampians Health Service. Pictures: PETER PICKERING

Shane McMahon picks up the last weekend Meals on Wheels from East Grampians Health Service. Pictures: PETER PICKERING

Long term volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program, Hopkins Correctional Centre Social Club, was one of the volunteer groups which raised concerns when it was informed about the changes to the weekend service.

Spokesperson Russell Graham said if it was due to a lack of volunteers Council should have put a call out for new volunteers.

"They haven't contacted us to up our volunteers," Mr Graham said, indicating they would have been happy to seek out new volunteers to help with the service.

Mr Graham said volunteering for Meals on Wheels was a service that they enjoyed doing and was also a service which ensured the client received some personal contact, with often the Meals on Wheels volunteer the only face to face contact a client had each day.

"It makes you feel good doing it yourself, it's only an hour out of your day and you never know, we might be in the same boat one day," Mr Graham said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer for the Meals on Wheels service should contact Ararat Rural City Council on 5355 0200.

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