WRVS to raise cash from meals

CLAIRE SAMES

WRVS is rolling out a luxury meal-delivery service around the UK, raising money for the organisation's work in the community.

Home Choice Meals is a not-for-profit company that provides an independent frozen meals delivery service primarily designed for those requiring short- or long-term assistance with food preparation such as nursing mothers or those recently home from hospital. Even people who are too busy to prepare a well-balanced meal can benefit from the service.

Home Choice Meals is the trading arm of the Women's Royal Voluntary Service - the Meals on Wheels charity - which aims to support independent living while addressing the problems of social isolation and deprivation. The scheme has been successfully piloted in Scotland, Oxfordshire and the South East and will shortly become available in southern Scotland, West and East Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire.

Jan Dugdale, head of Home Choice Meals, said: "We tested out a regional service last year as we didn't want to create a demand and not be able to fulfil it. Now we're ready to raise the profile of Home Choice Meals as we envisage rolling it out nationally."

Around 100 wholesome meals made from fresh ingredients are available for customers to choose from, covering breakfast, lunch, snacks, suppers and dinners, put together by a team of trained chefs and nutritionists.

The meals cost from as little as £2.60 and the most expensive are only £3.60, with soups at 70p and puddings from 75p. The menu includes a range of meat, vegetarian and spicy dishes, as well as catering for people with special dietary needs such as diabetics.

Customers can choose to buy meals on a permanent, short-term or one-off basis. Selections are made through a colour catalogue in a two-week cycle, with orders made via a customer services line, by post or by handing a completed order form to the uniformed delivery driver, who has been vetted by the charity.

As well as delivering the meals, the drivers are trained to help those who are housebound by building a rapport with them and putting them in touch with community activities and other local caring services.

The initiative will be backed by a marketing programme which starts at the end of this month. Direct marketing specialist Whitewater has put together the marketing programme to promote the new brand, which includes local press ads, targeted door drops and cold mailouts.

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