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Glimmer of hope to save hot meals service 'lifeline' for elderly residents in Stansted




Hopes have been raised that Stansted Day Centre’s hot meal service for the elderly will be saved.

The provision was recently cut by Uttlesford District Council, which instead wants to direct its funding towards providing a broader range of services across the district's four main community centres.

The move angered Stansted Day Centre's management committee, which sought parish council support to save the service, described as a "lifeline" for many.

COOK, North Street, Bishop's Stortford. Cllr Alan Dean collecting meals from COOK for Stansted Day Centre from Franchisee Marcus Farthing (r). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46817411)
COOK, North Street, Bishop's Stortford. Cllr Alan Dean collecting meals from COOK for Stansted Day Centre from Franchisee Marcus Farthing (r). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46817411)

But Liberal Democrat district councillor Geoffrey Sell (Stansted North) told last week’s parish council meeting that the situation was looking brighter.

“Cllr Richard Freeman, who is leading the review, has given me a commitment that he doesn’t believe that one size fits all," he said.

“He has clearly understood that Dunmow and Thaxted are very different from Saffron Walden and Stansted and he is keen to get review groups under way.

“I was heartened with my discussions with Cllr Freeman and he is aware of the unique nature of Stansted Day Centre.”

But fellow district councillor for Stansted North Alan Dean, whose wife Catherine chairs the centre's management committee, said UDC was going about it the wrong way.

"Rather than planning for something better in the future and asking local people and clients what they would like to happen, they have abolished what has existed up to now. It's back to front," he said.

On Tuesday (May 4), Cllr Dean collected meals for elderly residents after the management committee took up an offer from Cook, the award-winning frozen meals chain with a branch in North Street, Bishop's Stortford, which established the Cook's Kindess Fund during the coronavirus pandemic to support vulnerable members of the community.

Cllr Dean collects them and hands them over to volunteers in Stansted who then deliver the meals.

His wife Catherine said: "We're getting 25 portions a week for eight weeks, which is brilliant. It's just right for our day centre customers, but also means our volunteers are able to see the customers. We're very grateful."



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