Food baskets help older people get back on their feet

Caption: Emma Strachan, (left) a health improvement specialist with Leeds City Council's public health team, and Jane Morrison, a support worker with the British Red Cross, deliver a home food basket to 71-year-old local resident Brian Munn.

Older people in Leeds are getting food baskets delivered to their homes to help them get back on their feet after a stay in hospital.

The baskets, which are delivered along with hospital discharge packs, are being put together by Leeds City Council’s Community Meals Leeds team.

The new support programme has been devised in a bid to make the difficult transition from hospital to home as easy as possible for some of the city’s vulnerable residents.

Delivery of the baskets, which are filled with ingredients to make easy snacks and meals, also allows a member of staff to check that discharged patients are coping with their recovery.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“The first few days after leaving hospital can be a very difficult time for anybody. But for a vulnerable, elderly person with little or no support, it is even more uncertain and every bit of extra help in making the transition can mean all the difference.

“These food baskets will help older people who have suffered an illness or crisis back onto their feet, giving them the reassurance of knowing they will have much-needed meals and snacks as they recover whilst also making sure someone will be visiting to check on their progress.”

The pilot scheme will see staff at hospitals in Leeds identifying patients over the age of 65, with no carer or family living close by.

As well as the food basket, residents will also get some simple financial advice and fuel poverty information.

The Community Meals Leeds service is working closely with the Leeds Community Healthcare intermediate care teams, volunteers from the British Red Cross and the Royal Volunteer Service to ensure support gets to those who need it most.

Councillor Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said:

“This new pilot project is yet another example of our award-winning Community Meals Leeds service being prepared to go that extra mile to make sure that some of our city’s most vulnerable residents feel safe and comfortable in their own homes.

“We have consulted across a whole range of services when putting together this pilot scheme and we have found that there is a real need for this type of emergency food provision within the community.

“The Community Meals Leeds service is ideally placed to help, by providing not only food, but also the promise of a friendly face and some reassurance for residents who might otherwise feel isolated and alone.”

Funding is currently in place to deliver the first 200 baskets and discharge packs and the council is working with a number of local neighbourhood networks to help distribute the baskets.

Dr Ian Cameron, director of public health in Leeds, said:

“There’s good evidence to say that making sure people have nourishing and healthy food when they return home from hospital is a really effective way to reduce hospital readmissions, dehydration and malnutrition.

“We’re trialling this project to see what the evidence is about how best we can help those with the least get the most from the health and care support they need.”

Community Meals Leeds, run by Leeds City Council, delivers and estimated 124,000 meals every year to more than 500 people around the city.


Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk