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Hot meals for pensioners under threat from cuts
THERE are fears more than 2,000 pensioners will no longer be able to get hot meals at the Basildon's day centres.
The future of the meals, which many elderly people rely on, has been cast into doubt after Basildon Council announced its intention to slash £30,000 from catering budgets.
Members of the George Hurd Centre in Audley Way, Basildon, say they have already been told by kitchen staff that they have been ordered by the council not to buy any more food in as of this Friday, which could be used to provide hot meals.
But Basildon Council has said the hot meal service will remain until at least the end of May while a consultation takes place.
The worried pensioners said they have been told the kitchen will still serve sandwiches and snacks from next week but the hot meals - which for many members are the only main meal they receive.
Pensioners said the move will hit the day centre’s disabled members the hardest.
Basildon Council currently spends £158,600 a year to subsidise the catering service at day clubs for the elderly at the George Hurd Centre, The Place in Northlands Pavement, Pitsea and the Laindon Activity Centre in Aston Road, Laindon.
Pensioners pay around £3.20 a day for a hot main meal, but Basildon Council claims each meal costs the authority £9 to provide.
The council said of the 2,164 members attending all three centres, just 89 attend purely for the hot meal. But pensioners argue that many more attend for both the meal and to take part in activities and meet with friends.
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