North Walsham Meals on Wheels service continues despite ‘challenging’ snow

PUBLISHED: 14:56 21 January 2013 | UPDATED: 14:57 21 January 2013

Claire Rushen delivering a hot meal to one North Walsham resident. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Claire Rushen delivering a hot meal to one North Walsham resident. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Deep snow and “challenging” roads have not stopped Meals on Wheels dinners getting out to vulnerable people in a north Norfolk town.

The service in North Walsham, previously run by Norfolk County Council, was taken over just before Christmas by Claire and Mark Rushen who run The Cockerel on North Street, North Walsham.

Despite the severe winter weather Mrs Rushen has continued to drive to about 40 elderly people in the town over the past week since the snow started to fall across Norfolk.

She said about 20 warm packs, which contain hot water bottles, blankets, socks and hats, among other items, would be delivered to vulnerable people in North Walsham from today. The packs have come from North Norfolk District Council.

Mrs Rushen said: “We are still getting out and about today. We have said to all our customers we will get to them whatever the weather. The main roads are OK but the side roads are fairly dodgy.

“The customers are relieved when we arrive. They are surprised. They are stuck in their house, have seen a mountain of snow and cannot believe we have come. They are really pleased.”

Currently Mrs Rushen is the only one delivering a hot meal and pudding, which costs £6, or a chilled meal and pudding, which costs £5, to different homes between noon and 1pm each day.

She uses her car but said she has walked if the roads were too dangerous to drive on.

Fifteen volunteers would take up the job of delivering the meals in their cars after checks have been completed and it is hoped the service could expand from North Walsham.

Mrs Rushed added: “It makes the elderly people feel secure. They are seeing a face. The people at the more vulnerable end of the scale can get lonely and the ones that are more frail are scared to go out. They are just too frightened.

“Quite a few people who normally get two meals a week have gone up to five because they are too nervous to go out.”

As well as hot and cold meals Mrs Rushen said basic supplies including bread and milk could also be delivered to customers.

She said the weather in North Walsham today was the worst it has been since the initial snowfall.

“It is challenging. Cars are struggling to get into the Vicarage Street car park,” Mrs Rushen added.

She said the main roads were passable with slushy snow but the side roads were covered in compacted snow with ice underneath.

Snow ploughs drove along the main roads of North Walsham this morning.

For more information about the Meals on Wheels service ring Mrs Rushen on 01692 400661.

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