Campaign to keep wheels on hot meals

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A campaign promoting meals on wheels arrives in Hull today as fears grow that more local authorities providing the service will be forced to be cut back this year.

Around 70,000 to 80,000 people who are unable to prepare their own food get hot meals delivered to them at home.

But the figure has more than halved in a decade as cost-cutting councils have tightened rules on who is eligible .

In Yorkshire and Humber half the local authorities provide subsidised meals, costing on average £4.10, the majority through commercial organisations.

Research by the National Association of Care Catering suggests more than half of providers expect further cuts in the year ahead.

The association says the cost of providing a hot meal is a fraction of the £255 cost of keeping someone in hospital.

Incredibly more than 1m older people are considered malnourished - with the vast majority living in their own homes.

Campaigners will be serving drinks and biscuits to rail passengers on a train arriving in Hull. Northern Region Chair Ellen Clayton said: “Community meals services form an essential part of the care that elderly and vulnerable people receive and provide a range of benefits beyond simply supplying hot food.

“Regular personal contact, relationship building and the broader benefits that the service brings all contribute to crucial holistic care that can keep people in their homes and out of hospitals.” Hull Council provides meals for 170 people a day through private firm apetito.