A VOLUNTEER-led kitchen will continue to supply meals to those in need after a national company withdrew from the service on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Dean Forest Kitchen, which is based at Harts Barn in Longhope, is one of six organisations that have stepped in following the withdrawal of apetito.

The Kitchen will provide meals in the Forest seven days a week from Saturday (April 1).

The county council’s community meals service is there for people who have just come out of hospital or need extra support to prepare a hot meal for a short period of time.

Often, those who need help longer term with preparing hot meals also need support from adult social care with other things too.

The service is designed to support people to get back to independence, and anyone who needs help after six weeks will need to receive an assessment under the Care Act.

The council says it is working with providers and residents to develop a long-term solution.

Many organisations like pubs and cafes have also come forward to offer informal arrangements if people would like hot meals delivered.

The county council will be going through all other offers of informal help over the next few months

All details will be published on Your Circle at www.yourcircle.org.uk so that all Gloucestershire residents are aware of the support available in their community.

This may be of help for those self-funding their meals from apetito or would like to self-fund in future.

Cllr Kathy Williams (Con, Longlevens), cabinet member for adult social care at the county council said: “We are delighted and relieved to have found assistance within the voluntary and community sector, and local businesses to keep community meals going in Gloucestershire.

"Our priority is to make sure people who need community meals the most do not go without during this transition, and I’m personally very grateful to all those who have come forward offering their services.

“As a result, in the areas not covered at the moment by a pre-plated meal delivery option, the council will be subsidising frozen meals and organising a care call, so everyone will have access to a hot meal on the days they need it.”

In December, apetito, made a business decision to stop a hot meals delivery service in Gloucestershire.

All residents who are currently receiving community meals from apetito have received letters and phone calls to let them know there will be changes from April 1.

Over the last four weeks, Adult’s Social Care teams in the county council have worked hard to contact around 570 people individually about the change in providers, with over 400 people saying they no longer need the service.

Around 150 people will continue to receive community meals while they receive an assessment under the Care Act.