Horses for courses as meals-on-wheels team up with mounted police

Caption: Annette Gorman delivers a meal to Hazel Wood with the help of PC Rob Schofield on police horse Ledston and PC Sarah Dodsworth on police horse Ilkley.

Police horses Ledston and Ilkley helped deliver a mane course to remember as part of celebrations for National Community Meals Week.

Hazel Wood, 84, from Meanwood, received the special visit as Leeds City Council’s Community Meals Leeds team joined forces with West Yorkshire Police to recognise the vital role the meals service plays in the lives of local elderly and vulnerable people.

Mrs Wood is one of more than 500 people around the city who have hot meals delivered by the team, who work every day of the year including Christmas Day.

Many of their customers have no family living nearby, and a visit from a member of the team could be the only contact they have each day.

As well as delivering meals, the team carry out a safety and well-being checks on every visitl.

Local police work closely with members of the team to help them spread crime prevention messages, fact sheets and tips on how to spot bogus callers.

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

“The work of the Community Meals Leeds team is about much more than just delivering food.

“For many customers, their delivery driver may be the only person they see that day, and that bit of interaction can make all the difference to someone living alone who may otherwise be completely isolated.

“The team’s friendly, day-to-day relationship with their customers also makes them invaluable in spreading vital messages about how vulnerable people can stay safe in their homes.”

The visit was organised to mark National Community Meals Week, which runs from Nov 11-15 and recognises the important role of the service.

Community Meals Leeds delivers an estimated 130,000 meals every year and has been delivering to Leeds residents for more than 30 years.

Customers are referred to the service by social workers or hospital teams or can self-refer if they need support with meals.

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

“The hard work of the of the Community Meals Leeds team makes a massive difference to hundreds of vulnerable local residents, giving them the important extra support they need to live independent lives in their own homes.

“But they also make a huge contribution to keeping those people safe and preventing them from falling victim to unscrupulous bogus callers. 

"National Community Meals week is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate their fantastic commitment and dedication.”

Last year, Community Meals Leeds won the National Association of Care Catering’s (NACC) National Community Meals Award, which recognises the authority, business or individual who has proved themselves the best at providing the vital resource to elderly and vulnerable residents.

Jo Rostron, of Leeds District Crime Reduction team, said: 

“The meals service provides vital support to some of the most vulnerable members of the community and National Community Meals Week gave us an ideal opportunity to work alongside them to promote our crime prevention messages on how to guard against bogus callers.

“Our main message is very simple; ‘If in doubt, keep them out.’. People should always be suspicious of anyone who calls at their home unannounced. 

"Often these people can be quite convincing and have identity cards and be smartly dressed or pose as workmen in overalls or high-visibility jackets.

“Legitimate visitors will normally make an appointment first or be happy to return once you confirmed who they are or can have someone else there with you. If you are suspicious, don’t let them in and contact the police.

Further crime prevention advice is available from local crime reduction officers by calling 101 or email LeedsCPO@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

For more information about Community Meals Leeds, visit: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Preparing-meals.aspx


Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937