A VITAL service that ensures that vulnerable elderly people in the South Lakes do not go without hot food is seeking new volunteers.

People in Kendal and Milnthorpe are being encouraged to support the Community Meals Service – formerly known as Meals on Wheels.

It is co-ordinated by Christian Hoyle, from the TT Diner at Stramongate, Kendal with support from care providers NCI Community Services.

Development Manager Jane McFarlane said: “The people who depend on the service are unable to cook a hot meal for themselves and would go without if it wasn’t provided.

“We are looking for volunteer drivers and helpers to deliver hot meals. The drivers should have a clean driving licence and will have their travel expenses reimbursed.”

Christian said: “My motivation behind meals on wheels was started at an early age through my grandad ensuring I have a deep respect for our older generation.

“It’s projects like this that keep our communities alive.

“Never have I come across a nicer bunch of people, both those receiving the food and those who give up their time to not only deliver it but also to bring a warm friendly smile into someone’s home three times a week.”

Opportunities are available Monday to Friday and would suit people with experience of catering and community work. Volunteers should be over 18 years old, show a caring attitude and be willing to work as part of a team, said Jane.

The push for new helpers comes as a recent report by Holly Holder, of the Nuffield Trust, shows that the number of older people receiving home-delivered meals has more than halved since 2009/10.

“Our analysis paints a picture of increased rationing of social care in response to deep cuts from Government, despite the growing numbers of older people,” she said.

“It is highly likely that this is having a negative effect on older people’s health and well-being and that of their carers, but without adequate data to assess this impact, the NHS and Government are flying blind.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with the community meals service should contact: Jane McFarlane on 01768-800350 or email janem@cumbriacvs.org.uk.