Company providing hot meal service for elderly and disabled residents ends contract with Bucks Council
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A meal delivery company which supplies food to elderly and disabled residents in Bucks is ending its services in the county.
Apetito will no longer deliver hot meals to people in the county when its contract with Bucks Council expires on 31 July.
Staff members who worked for the company in Buckinghamshire will be made redundant as a result of the termination.
Bucks Council has confirmed that no replacement has been agreed at this time.
In a letter sent to the residents who use the service in Bucks, Apetito cites escalating costs and a decline in demand as the key reasons why the company has terminated the agreement.
Apetito claims it would deliver 200,000 meals annually to residents in Buckinghamshire. Meals are described as nutritionally balanced and the company aims to cater different types of diets and cultural needs.
In the letter delivered to residents Bucks Council offered three alternate meal delivery services:
- Oakhouse Foods, a Wiltshire based company that offers a national frozen food service
- Wiltshire Farm Foods, delivers frozen ready meals
- Parsley Box, which also serves the entire country
Bucks Council also advises that concerned residents can seek support via email here and by calling 01296 387904.
However, some residents remain concerned about the short notice of the change and how potentially vulnerable residents will adapt to the disruption.
Families are having to source new meals for residents who, in certain cases, are too mentally or physically frail to prepare meals.
"I particularly worry what will happen to those people who don’t have any family to help them sort out an alternative,” said one resident to The Bucks Herald.
Concerns have been raised about what will happen to residents living independently who may not have the capability to shop on their own.
Bucks Council states every person using the service will be contacted individually.
Councillor Angela Macpherson, said: “In response to Apetito’s decision, the council has written to users of the service to explain the changes and to provide information on alternative options available to meet their nutritional needs, including ready meal delivery providers and local community services.
“Social workers and other staff are making contact with every person currently receiving hot meal deliveries arranged by the council to offer further support and guidance directly, making every effort to ensure that the impacted adult social care clients are supported to make suitable alternative arrangements.”
A company spokesperson for Apetito said: “Apetito Ltd, has confirmed that it has declined to extend its contract to supply the hot meals that it currently provides on behalf of Buckinghamshire Council, after the current contract comes to an end on 31 July, 2023.
“Apetito notified the council in March 2023, that it would not be in a position to extend the contract after the end of July 2023.
“The company understands that the council has not identified any viable alternative and has decided that the service will stop at this time. Apetito also understands that the council has contacted all customers who are impacted to help them make other arrangements.
“The company has now concluded a consultation period with its employees who deliver the service across Buckinghamshire and who will be made redundant at the end of July when the contract expires.”