South East Wales

Prisoners cover axed meals on wheels for the elderly

HMP Parc Image copyright G4S

Prisoners have taken over part of a meals on wheels service for elderly people after a council scrapped it.

Vale of Glamorgan council said the number of meals needed fell from a daily average of 112 in 2012 to 45.

The Food Shed, which works with HMP Parc in Bridgend, is one of the social enterprises which has stepped in.

Prisoners prepare and cook meals but do not deliver them and G4S, which runs Parc, said these skills helped break the "vicious cycle" of offending.

The freshly-cooked meals made by the prisoners are delivered to people who are unable to cook for themselves.

Councillors agreed to start working with The Food Shed to provide meals in the western part of the county before it expands across the area.

It is not a contract but The Food Shed was one of the social enterprises which was recommended as an alternative when the council service ended.

The decision came after the council's former Labour administration decided to stop providing the service in January.

Image copyright Getty Images

The council said meals on wheels ran at a loss and cost the social services department £50,000 a year.

People affected had their needs reassessed, were written to about the change and were also called or visited in person.

If they were happy to make the switch to a new provider, council staff passed their details to the relevant organisations.

Lisette Saunders, G4S deputy director at HMP Parc, said: "Our partnership with The Food Shed provides quality food for vulnerable people and supports our work with prisoners to develop skills, provide training and improve job prospects, ultimately helping the men in our care break the vicious cycle of offending."

G4S said one former prisoner who was involved with The Food Shed while serving his sentence was given a job with them after his release.

Ms Saunders added: "Programmes like The Food Shed encourage prisoners to be involved with the local communities, to be good neighbours and to give something back to those who are in most need."

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