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MHS homes and Age UK Medway team up to support the vulnerable

Written by on 6 April 2020

A remarkable team effort by mhs homes staff looks set to provide daily meals to scores of vulnerable people across Medway during the coronavirus crisis.

The charity has committed tens of thousands of pounds to funding Age UK Medway ‘meals on wheels’ deliveries to some of its older vulnerable tenants without any other support network.

Staff within the organisation, which has more than 10,000 homes across Medway, have been playing their part by telephoning tenants to help put together a list of those who would most benefit from the scheme.

“We have literally pulled out all the stops,” explained mhs homes’ Supported Living Manager Sue Rudd. “We decided on Friday (27 March) that we needed to act quickly to help our most vulnerable tenants cope with self-isolation during the coronavirus crisis and we teamed up with Age UK Medway to deliver the first meals on Monday (30th).

“By doing our bit in this way we are also helping to take the pressure off Medway Council’s emergency support hub and local food banks, which wouldn’t in any case be an option for many of the people we are helping.”

The partnership with Age UK Medway was announced by the Chief Executive of mhs homes, Ash Hook, who said it would “support and protect older people living in our homes”. Explaining that mhs homes would bear the full cost of the emergency support, he added: “These are exceptional times and as a charity, it is entirely appropriate that we use our resources in this way”.

The vastly expanded delivery service has also given Age UK Medway a vital new role after it was forced to shut its day centres following the ban on social gatherings and leaving its 100-plus staff and network of volunteers looking for other ways to help support the community.

The charity’s Home Delivery Squad will take each person nominated by mhs homes a hot two-course lunch and a snack pack for later in the day. Deliveries will be made every day, including weekends, initially for three weeks but, as Ash Hook explained, “longer if necessary”.

Sue explained that the first step was for mhs homes’ Supported Living Advisors to talk to customers in its 16 sheltered schemes to create a list of those who were self-isolating and needed assistance. The housing provider then moved on to phoning other customers, with mhs homes colleagues initially telephoning those over 90 before moving on to the over-eighties and then those over 70.

“About 20 staff volunteered to work through the lists, talk to customers and then put forward the names of vulnerable older people without a support network,” said Sue. “I then give the list to Age UK Medway each day and they deliver the meals. I am really very proud of the way the organisation has come together to help in this way.”

John Norley, Chief Executive Officer with Age UK Medway, said the charity was “delighted to be working in partnership with mhs homes at such a critical time”. He added: “This is a time when charities and organisations need to come together to help support our most vulnerable people and it is fantastic that Age UK Medway is able to play a part in this amazing initiative.”

John said that the partnership had seen the home delivery service ramp up its operation from ten to 15 meals a day to 76 and rising.