Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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Minister visits Swansea Meals on Wheels

26 October 2011

NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services Andrew Constance has paid tribute to the volunteers at Swansea Meals on Wheels during a visit with local MP Garry Edwards today.

“Meals on Wheels is among the most important volunteer-based organisations in New South Wales,” Mr Constance said.

“Its services are an essential part of the Home and Community Care Program (HACC) which enables older people and people with a disability to remain in the comfort of their own homes and in familiar surroundings.”

“The volunteers don’t just deliver nutritious food; they also provide a social lifeline to the people they serve.”

Mr Constance also discussed the future of food services in the Hunter while meeting with staff from the Swansea outlet.

“I’m committed to working with Swansea Meals on Wheels to ensure their clients get the food service they want. It’s all about choice, and if they want to continue providing hot home-cooked meals, then I’m happy for that to continue, provided food safety laws are adhered to.”

“However, as people live longer and seek to live independently at home there is a challenge to provide a food service that can cope with growing demand while meeting nutritional needs.”

A distribution centre is being established in the Hunter for service providers to source a wider variety of fresh and snap frozen meals. It follows the development of the Future Food Strategy and completion of the Future Food Final Report.

“The Strategy identified a distribution model as a way of overcoming a number of future challenges including increased demand, higher food safety requirements and greater expectations in choice and variety,” Mr Constance said.

Through the HACC Program, the NSW Government currently provides the majority of funding to Meals on Wheels providers in the Hunter. The Government is committing additional funding of more than $650,000 to meet set up costs and $900,000 in recurrent funding to assist with the new model’s implementation.

The major distribution centre will be located in Tighes Hill and meal services will be able to order food from the facility and distribute meals to their clients.

Food providers in the Hunter have been provided with advice on the process for transitioning to the new service model. The transition process and timeframes are flexible and based on the circumstances of individual service providers.

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