YOUNG adults will for the first time be included in the Meals on Wheels service.
Hampshire County Council has agreed to invest up to £16.4m into the service which will continue to provide meals for older people as well as support young adults.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the council’s executive member for adult social care and health, agreed the new contract which will start on October 1.
It will be offered to adults aged 18 and above who have difficulty preparing food, and managing and maintaining nutrition, and who have dementia, a learning disability, a mental health issue, a history of substance misuse, or a physical disability.
Cllr Fairhurst said: ‘Meals on Wheels offers a vital lifeline for many Hampshire residents, in terms of ensuring good nutrition, which is so important for good physical and mental health.
‘Extending the service to younger people is an obvious next step for us as we seek to support all adults to live independently in their communities.
‘Sometimes a Meals on Wheels visit is the only social interaction a person may have all day, so the service also plays a valuable role in helping to prevent social isolation.’
The service delivers a two course hot lunchtime meal, with the additional option of afternoon tea.
Meals on Wheels drivers are also trained to carry out a wellbeing check in addition to the delivery of the meal.
On average there are currently 1,770 customers receiving Meals on Wheels from one to seven days a week.