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‘Meals on wheels’

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th June 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis

No Meals for Old Folks – Yet
“Meals on wheels” may one day be served to Rushden’s handicapped old people, but for the present there will be no such voluntary service.

Such a scheme, bringing hot meals to the doors of crippled and handicapped people at a reduced rate, would need a lot of planning and could not be undertaken unless everything was worked out in detail, it was decided by members of Rushden Senior Citizens Goodwill Committee at their meeting on Thursday.

A sub-committee headed by Mr. E. M. Brocklebank, was asked to investigate all aspects for a satisfactory scheme which could be run in conjunction with the W.V.S.

On a side table at the meeting stood a hot-meal container which would hold enough for 18 people.

This was the type of container which would be needed for a meals-on-wheels service, said Mr. Brocklebank, and the cost would be £33. Two or three containers would be required to serve the town adequately.

When one of the members suggested buying a container to make a start on a preliminary service, the chairman, Mr. W. J. A. Peck, said that it would be unwise to start anything without proper organisation.

Mr. Peck said that while he was in the chair he would refuse to let any scheme go forward until all points had been thoroughly discussed as there were so many problems to sort out. An early scheme for part of the town would cause discontent among those old people who had not been included.

Special Meeting
A special meeting of the committee will be called when the sub-committee is ready to put forward recommendations.

Within a few minutes of an appeal made by Mr. Peck for a piano for “Risdene” home for old people Mrs. G. E. Bazeley offered to give one. Mr. Peck, who gave the house and property to the council, said that a number of other items were needed – most important being a wheelchair, garden seats, a card table and about fifty hymn books would also be appreciated.

The next meeting of the committee will be on September 26, unless the meals-on-wheels sub-committee make their recommendations before that time.

Earlier in the evening, the committee’s annual meeting was held, and the chairman of the Urban Council, Mrs. W. M. Lean, was elected president in succession to Mr. E. E. Newell, last year’s council chairman. Others elected were Chairman, Mr. W. J. A. Peck; secretary, Mr. H. W. Ellis; treasurer, Mr. E. M. Brocklebank; auditors, Mr. K. Gibbard and Mr. G, Bayes.

In his report, Mr. Ellis said that the chiropody scheme was still the main activity and that during the past year 630 treatments were carried out and 172 visits were made to bedridden patents.

The age limit had been lowered to 68 and provision had been made for free treatment where the patients could not afford the fee.

A balance of £370 was reported by Mr. Brocklebank in his financial statement.


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 11th October 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis

‘Meals on wheels’ plan for the old
Once a week – on Tuesday morning – a car with a “crew” of three ladies can be seen arriving at a Rushden café. Shortly afterwards they leave with containers in which are the ingredients of 21 hot meals.

From the café these ladies go around Rushden visiting the homes of the people for whom the meals are intended – 21 aged and needy residents – the first to benefit under Rushden’s new “Meals on Wheels” scheme.

This is not the official title. In fact, the scheme – which has been running for five weeks – has no title and it was only last night that the sponsors, the Senior Citizens Goodwill Committee were due to hear for the first time how it was progressing.

It was brought into operation by a sub-committee, the chairman of which, Mr. E. M. Brocklebank, was last night to give a report to the first meeting of the full committee to be held since the scheme’s inception.

At that time 18 old people were provided with the weekly hot meal – meat and three veg., and a hot sweet. Already three names have been added to the list, and there is every likelihood that more will soon come along.

The organisers aim to cater for those old people who are not likely, through extreme age or infirmity, to cook for themselves, and who have no close relatives in a position to do it for them.

There must be quite a lot of old folk in this position they think, either on their own or old married couples, for whom cooking has become too big a job. With the prospect of more Mrs C. G. Perkins is confident that if more are required she can provide them from among local W.V.S. members.

Each meal costs 2s of which the recipient pays 1s and the other shilling is paid by the committee. Before the scheme can be extended to include more old people the question of finance will have to be considered


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 18th October 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Old Folk’s Meals Cost £100 a Year
The new service to provide a weekly hot meal to old people of the town, who are in need and cannot get such a meal anywhere else, will cost Rushden Senior Citizens’ Goodwill Committee about £100 a year.

Seeking financial support from the town and its organisations Mr. W. J. A. Peck said at Thursday’s meeting of the committee: “I do want to appeal at this stage and not wait until we get into difficulties.”

Mr. Peck, who is chairman of the committee, said he hoped there would be continued recognition of the work they did and that they would still get grants from those charitable organisations which had helped in the past. “This is as worthy a cause as any other in the town,” he said.

The chairman of the “meals on wheels” service sub-committee, Mr. E. M. Brocklebank, reported that at present 21 people were having meals delivered each Tuesday and there were 12 other people who would like to have meals delivered.

The W.V.S. organised the delivery of the meals and 23 helpers with nine cars were on the roster. Collection and delivery of the meals took 45 minutes. The cost of each meal was 2s of which the recipients paid only 1s and all so far connected with the scheme had agreed that the meals were of good quality and were very much appreciated.

Hot-Meal Container
On the recommendation of the sub-committee, the purchase of a hot-meal container for £36 was approved and it was agreed to approach the council to see if they would pay half the cost. The number of people having meals delivered was limited to 36 for the time being because of expense and organisational difficulties.

Mr. Peck thanked the W.V.S. for their help in running the service.

Cheques were acknowledged from the National Corporation for the care of Old People (£100), the County Cinematograph Fund (£50) and the 1956 Rushden Fete (£22). Mr. Brocklebank reported cash at the bank of £483.

No Big Rush
There has been no big rush for treatment since the age limit for the committee’s chiropody service was lowered to 65, it was reported. Bookings continue at a steady pace, but the service so far was coping well with appointments. Up to the end of August 1,233 treatments had been given and 320 visits had been made to give treatment to sick and infirm people at home.

The adjourned annual meeting preceded the committee meeting and a letter of resignation was received from Mr. B. Munday. Members were told that of 43 town organisations approached in a campaign to get more representatives, only 25 had replied.

New committees for each ward of the town were appointed. Mr. Peck welcomed back Mr. E. A. Sugars, who has been ill for some months.


Meals-on-wheels van: £600 aim

TWELVE Rushden organisations were represented at a meeting called last night to elect a committee which will raise money for a van for the local WVS meals-on-wheels service. Their target is £600. Mrs. M. Rickard was elected chairman, Mrs. M. Lumbers, secretary, and Mr. K. Gibbard, treasurer. The committee will comprise representatives of the organisations helping to raise the funds: Toc-H, Central TWG, Rotary Club, Round Table, RAFA, Adult School, Moor Road Youth Club, Salvation Army, British Legion, Royal Artillery, Query Club and the Boys' Secondary Modern School.

It was decided to hold a jumble sale, a spring fair, a grass-track event, and an amateur boxing tournament.

Mr. Gibbard rerported that to date, donations total £84 8s. 8d.—of which £50 11s. 8d. was raised at a recent coffee evening, when the chairman of Rushden Urban Council, Mr. Cyril Faulkner, launched the appeal. The remainder had been donated privately and by local firms.

When the service was started, in 1958, 15 meals were delivered each week in Rushden. Now there are 64 old people on the WVS list.

Delivering meals
W.V.S. at work at Rushden. The "meals on wheels" service has reached Spinney Close, where Mrs Alan Allebone (left) and Mrs T H Wood are unloading dinners for old people.

Northampton Mercury & Herald, 23rd January 1964

Rushden folk provide "wheels for the meals"

RUSHDEN—which pioneered the meals-on-wheels service in Northamptonshire—now has the first van given for distributing hot dinners to the elderly.

Last night in Spencer Park, and bearing the words, " Presented by the townspeople of Rushden," it was handed over to the W.V.S., whose members distribute the meals, and who have been using cars.

In four months about £587 was raised, enough to pay for the van and its maintenance for two years, and the fund is still open for contributions.

The van would be a great boon, said County Alderman C. G. Faulkner—who had sponsored the fund during his year as chairman of Rushden Urban Council—at a ceremony at which the van was accepted by Mrs. A. Perkins, centre organiser for Rushden W.V.S.

Lead Followed

Mrs. Perkins said they had been delivering meals for five years—1,600 in the first, with a total of over 3,000 last year. The van would also be useful for other activities of the movement.

Deputising for Lady Hesketh, the county W.V.S. organiser, Mrs. M. J. Clarke, deputy county organiser, said many other places had followed the lead given by Rushden in the meals service, which could mean the difference between an elderly person remaining in his own home or not. The W.V.S. not only took nourishment, but the assurance that people had not been forgotten.

Rushden had a hardworking group of members who did everything with great zeal under the competent leadership of Mrs. Perkins, said Mrs. Clarke, who thanked Mrs. W. M. Rickard— the chairman of the fund-raising committee who cooks all fee meals—and Toc H and the Query Motor Club who were the first to support Mr. Faulkner.

Miss M. E. Chettle, W.V.S. regional administrator, Nottingham, who also congratulated Rushden, said an idea first started with home-made hay boxes and perambulators has spread to over 700 schemes all over the country. Meals-on-wheels was one of the biggest jobs in the movement.

The Rushden Echo, 17th December 1965, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Pensioners had real treat through the WVS

Old people of Rushden who receive the WVS “meals on wheels” each week, residents of Risdene, and other pensioners who do not belong to old people’s organisations, were the guests at a Christmas party arranged on Tuesday at the Masonic Hall by members of the WVS.

Competition prizes were donated by members of the WVS who also provided the transport to and from the Masonic Hall.

The chairman of Rushden Urban Council, Mrs. D. E. Shrive on behalf of the council, congratulated the organisation on its work.

Lady Hesketh the county organiser spoke of the great amount of work carried out by the WVS in the town, and said that the WVS was proud to be associated with old people’s welfare work.

Mr. W. A. J. Peck said that the “meals on wheels” service was one of which the town could be very proud.

A cake made by one of the WVS members, Mrs. W. Ainsworth, was cut by the oldest person present, Mr. F. Easton, aged 95.

A gift was presented to all pensioners present. Table decorations were made by Mrs. V. Sawford and the food was provided by members of the WVS.

Entertainment was by Mrs. C. Carter, Mrs. R. Welsford, Mrs. P. Huckle, Mrs. J. Shelton, Miss I. Mitchell, the young people of Rushden Salvation Army Citadel and Mrs. P. Longland.


Tribute to service

STALWARTS of the WRVS in Rushden have had their commitment rewarded with long service medals.

Four people received awards, presented at the annual tea party for about 50 elderly people held in Rushden Hall.

Joy Claridge, who joined in 1940, received a second clasp to mark 39 years service and Frances Beckerley was given a 15-year medal.

Two other 15 medals were awarded to Muriel Maidwell and and Renee Windsor by county organiser Barbara Ellis-Smith and meals on wheels organiser Angela Cobley.

District organiser Edna Wadsworth said: "We have been running these parties for many years for the old people who receive Meals on Wheels. It gives them the chance to meet old friends. Sometimes they only meet once a year when they come here. It is also good for us because some of us only know these people as names and it is nice to be able to meet them as well."

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