A fifth of meals on wheels customers in West Sussex who responded to a recent survey only see another person once a fortnight.
Apetito took over the contract in October 2015 and delivers around 2,500-2,700 meals a week to around 500 community customers as well as supplying around 500 meals a week to day centre customers.
The service is based at Climping and currently employs 31 people in the county, according to a report discussed by West Sussex’s Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee on Thursday November 10.
More than a half of 213 customers who responded to a survey said the daily visit they receive is the most important aspect of the meals on wheels service, with almost a third saying the hot meal was most important.
One in five indicated they only see another person once a fortnight.
John Figgins, the county council’s catering services manager, explained how Apetito drivers were also carrying out simple checks to make sure customers are safe and well.
The company is able to deliver 99 per cent of meals within the allotted window, and if the driver does not arrive on time the customer receives their meal for free.
Of those who responded to surveys, 91 per cent of users graded the service as excellent or very good, 96 per cent thought the service represented value for money, while 98 per cent enjoyed their meals.
Although the price increased from £4.20 to £4.60 in April no residents had quit the service due to the rise, as the county council monitors the reasons for customers leaving.
Mr Figgins said there would be a price review every April in line with the contract signed with Apetito.
Peter Evans (Con, East Preston and Ferring) said he was ‘really pleased’ to see the safety checks taking place, which he felt were ‘really important’.
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