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Future of Newbury Meals and Wheels service uncertain, months after district deliveries cease

Future of Newbury Meals and Wheels service uncertain, months after district deliveries cease

Ellis Barker

Reporter:

Ellis Barker

Holding Hands

A CATERING firm which provides hot meals for housebound and elderly residents could close its Newbury depot, just six months after it said that jobs there would be safe after the West Berkshire deliveries ceased.

apetito took over the running of the Meals and Wheels delivery service in 2012, after West Berkshire Council cut its funding by £92,000.

It faced criticism from concerned relatives and carers last August, when it announced that the meal delivery service in West Berkshire had become "unviable" and would cease, giving customers just two weeks to make alternative arrangements.

The firm said that the Newbury depot would remain and help to cater to its customers in Hampshire.

However, responding to questions put forward by the Newbury Weekly News, apetito yesterday (Tuesday) confirmed that it would be making changes to its Hampshire service to improve its coverage in the county and ensure its long-term viability.

The changes include setting up four satellite sites throughout Hampshire.

As a result, apetito is undergoing a review of its Newbury depot in order to "mitigate ongoing losses at that site", a statement read.

A consultation process is currently underway.

apetito chief executive Paul Freeston said: “A 45-day consultation process is underway and if a solution is not found, sadly we will be left with no alternative but to close the depot.

“It is our absolute priority to give our employees the utmost support and consideration over this period and we are working hard to support the 19 staff that will be affected.

"We hope that the affected staff will transfer to one of the new satellite sites.”

He added that apetito customers would not be affected by the potential depot closure.

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