A meals on wheels service that has helped elderly and infirm people for the last six years will have to stop due to a lack of funding.
Danny and Julie Kelly provided Julie’s Kitchen Dinner Direct, a home delivery of a hot, homemade meal and a pudding for £5.50 to Selsey residents who find it difficult to get out and about.
But finding volunteer drivers has been tough and as of November 9, the couple will have to stop the delivery service and ask customers to organise or pay for collection.
Danny said: “We tried and tried and tried. Effectively it’s actively cost us now for months to keep it going, it’s the last thing we wanted, to let it go but it’s just not economically viable.”
He said he was disappointed that councils had not provided funding for the service, which had supported many and led to friendships and support with everyday life.
Delivery people check on the people they visit and one time, he said they had found a customer who had fallen outside in the snow and been unable to get to the door.
“We’ve done everything, changed a lightbulb for them, made them a cup of tea, we’ve done shopping for some but we just can’t keep doing it,” he said. Writing to customers about the service stopping, the couple added that they would try to provide meals where possible as takeaways.
They wrote: “We are in talks with the local taxi companies to see if they can assist with a collection and delivery service for the lunch time period, obviously this service would come at a cost to you but if we can arrange for a multiple collection or delivery then this would reduce cost and enable you to still have a freshly cooked lunch delivered to your door.
“If you have family or carers that can arrange a collection or delivery service, then we would gladly carry on making the meals.”
One of their customers is 68-year-old Susan Middleton, who has been in Selsey for 40 years but lives alone since her mother died.
She said she had used the ‘vital’ service since it first started for ‘wholesome and healthy’ meals.
She said: “When you won’t get a car and you can’t drive and you can’t get out that’s when you need this service.
“I’ve got some friends and as long as they can, they’ll help but Lord knows what will happen after that, we’re all getting older.
She added: “It’s a very very distressing situation, all we people who rely on Danny and Julie.”