One of the Council’s services that I have been most proud of during the pandemic is our Community Meals Service, sometimes called “meals on wheels”.
The service delivers hundreds of hot meals, 364 days a year, to isolated and vulnerable residents, and is a vital part of our agenda to support people to live longer in their own homes, and stay independent.
The great thing about this service is the wellbeing check that our staff undertake when they deliver the meal. Stories from our drivers just underline for me how passionate they all are about what they do, and how they have, in some cases, saved lives by their visit.
So, what has this got to do with COP26 and our carbon commitments?
For several years I have been asking about electric vans to replace our current fleet but, until relatively recently, the technology had not been available to be confident in what was out there. We know that battery life is a key fact in switching to electric vehicles, but in the case of these vans, the battery also needs to power ovens to keep meals warm and a refrigeration unit to keep cold and frozen foods fresh.
I am delighted to share with you that these issues have been overcome by the next generation of vehicles, and we are going to have the first four electric vans delivered to our base in Barton Hill in the next few weeks.
On a recent visit to the service, I asked James Dagnall, our Manager, how the drivers viewed this development, and it was so heartening to hear how they have embraced this initiative, and all want to trial the new vans when they arrive.
So, everyone wants to play their part in meeting the climate challenge, whilst continuing to deliver a service in ways that will fit us better for the future.
If you are interested in finding out more about Community Meals, please go to https://www.bristol.gov.uk/social-care-health/bristol-community-meals