New services for older people

Meal Makers and Food Train, two services to help older people with food and shopping, have launched in the Scottish Borders.

Meal Makers is a community food sharing project that pairs volunteer cooks with older neighbours who would appreciate some home cooking.

The Food Train shopping service arranges volunteers to do the weekly grocery run for older members of the community.

Both services are run by Dumfries-based charity Food Train, which has been helping isolated older people for 22 years.

Meal Makers cook and dinerMeal Makers brings together people who love cooking (‘cooks’), with older neighbours over the age of 55 who would appreciate having some delicious home-cooked food delivered to them (‘diners’).

Cooks and diners are matched using an online platform. Once matched, the cook prepares an extra portion of their evening meal and takes it round to the diner at a mutually convenient time. How often meals are shared, and when they are shared, is decided between the cook and diner. Typically, meals are shared once a week.

Food Train volunteers collect a weekly shopping list from older people in the area, visit the supermarket, collect and pack the groceries, and deliver them back to the older person’s house on a nominated day. Anyone over 65 is eligible for the Food Train service.

Both services are now looking for volunteers to help out and for older people who may benefit. It costs £1 for a year’s membership to Food Train, and £4 for each delivery. Meal Makers costs £5 for a year’s membership.

“We’re delighted to be bringing these services to the Borders,” said Robert Peacock, Development Officer for Meal Makers. “A weekly shop and a good home meal are something it is easy to take for granted, but many older people struggle to manage, for health reasons, or because they are isolated from the community.”

To volunteer or to sign up for either service call 0800 783 7770, e-mail hello@mealmakers.org.uk or visit either website www.mealmakers.org.uk or www.thefoodtrain.co.uk