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Changes to our Meal Service

From the beginning of April 2014 The Food Chain will be providing home delivered meals for 7 days a week for people living with HIV in London who are too unwell to cook for themselves. We are pleased to be able to offer this new meal delivery service though it also means that our long standing volunteer Sunday service will come to an end as we move over to using an external provider of meals.

This is an important moment in the life of the charity and a change that brings some sadness at the ending of a fantastic voluntary service. At the same time we are pleased to be planning additional new services for the week ends that bring people together to share a meal in the same way as at the Eating Together communal lunch that takes place every Wednesday. Just as the nature of living with HIV has changed significantly since the beginning of anti-retroviral treatment so too have our services. It is now thankfully a small number of people who are so unwell that they are unable to cook for themselves and by changing our service we are able to go on responding to that need as well as to the needs of many others who are less unwell but also in need of support at times of crisis.

The change comes about at the end of a thorough and considered process undertaken by the charity’s Trustees. This was a difficult decision to make but we have been listening to our service users, to referrers, to colleagues in the sector and to key funders and there are compelling reasons for changing the way we provide meals. Our continuing aim is to be responsive to need even as the nature of that need changes.

The delivery of hot meals prepared with love by volunteers is where The Food Chain story began and it is a very fine tradition. Our task now is to sustain this tremendous voluntary effort and provide new services at week-ends.

For the majority of people referred to The Food Chain their needs relate more to economic reasons, social isolation and lack of knowledge and skills to prepare nutritious meals than to specific health reasons. The Food Chain will continue to provide the dietetic advice, grocery hampers, Eating Positively cookery and nutrition classes and the Eating Together communal lunch for those who need our short term support at times of particular need or crisis.

Nobody who is assessed to be in need of crisis support from The Food Chain will go without a service as a result of the ending of the Sunday meal delivery service.

On hearing the news of the planned changes Food Chain founder Amanda Falkson said:

“The Food Chain has my very best wishes for this new direction. It is very good news that fewer people with HIV are experiencing acute ill health and that The Food Chain is able to adapt to meet changing needs. Although it is the end of an era in one way, it certainly isn’t the end of volunteers providing essential services for people living with HIV at times of great need. I have no doubt The Food Chain will continue that tradition in this new era. I remain very proud of the achievements of the charity and unreservedly offer my continued support”.

Please read our list of Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about the changes.