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‘Slow cooker’ scheme to help vulnerable older people

An older people’s support charity and a small charity taking direct action to support those struggling in the local community have partnered up to create a pilot scheme to support housebound older people in poverty. 

Independent Age, and the North Essex Support Team (NEST) have created “North Essex Eats”, which is aimed at supporting older adults in their own homes who are vulnerable or ill. As the cost of living continues to put pressure on older people’s finances, the project will support people who are worried about how they will keep warm indoors and afford to heat their homes or to cook hot, healthy, wholesome and nutritious meals.

The scheme is active in the Essex areas of Greenstead, Clacton, St Osyth and Jaywick in Tendring and provides 150 older adults with slow cookers, and ingredients for hot meals. It also supplies warm clothing and bedding.

As well as providing short-term support, the project will also ensure older adults are better connected to networks of other services and support. In addition to the initial scheme, the team aims to launch a second phase of the project later in the year. This will provide the same group of people with 300 free or pay-what-you-can meals over the course of three months via a part-funded fortnightly lunch in a group setting such as a community café.

Independent Age Essex Community Service Case Worker Kate Hardy said:

“Given the cost-of-living crisis and high energy bills, we’re finding vulnerable older people are in desperate need of our support. Having access to nutritious meals is so important, especially in older age, and we want to ensure that they have access to food that gives them the fuel they need to live happy and healthy lives.

“Ensuring older people have the resources to keep warm is essential to preserving their health and wellbeing. This scheme will not only provide older people with food and warmth but give them access to support networks in their local area for emotional and practical assistance.”