Coronavirus: Butterfield Centre in Bourne braced for closure but plans to increase 'meals on wheels' service for elderly
A day care centre is bracing itself for closure - but also has plans to step up its ‘meals on wheels’ service to support the elderly and vulnerable.
The Butterfield Centre on North Street in Bourne typically accommodates 10 to 15 people a day while also sending meals and cleaners out to residents' homes.
However, the coronavirus outbreak will almost certainly cause the centre to close soon meaning the town’s most vulnerable people are without a crucial lifeline.
Trustee Jenny Peel said they were waiting for guidance through Lincolnshire County Council.
But she stressed there were plans being made to increase the number of delivery meals from 26 a day to up to 100, with an evening dinner being prepared as well as lunch.
The domestic cleaning service would also continue with staff and volunteers helping elderly people to clean their homes and pick up supplies from the shops.
“It’s about community spirit,” said Mrs Peel. “One of the frightening things for the elderly is being at home watching the images on the TV of the empty shelves and streets.
“We want to offer them some positivity. We are trying to be upbeat and keep them going.”
She said they currently have more than 20 volunteers, of which 15 are over the age of 70.
“At the moment a lot of them without underlying health conditions are willing and happy to continue,” she said. “We’ve also had others approaching us to offer their services.
“We are very lucky because our meals on wheels service is run entirely by volunteers. If it wasn’t for them we’d struggle. We are incredibly grateful to them.”
The plan is to continue providing a hot meal to people’s doors at lunchtime but the centre is in talks with supermarkets to reserve certain ingredients so a cold evening meal can also be provided.
It would cost £7 for both meals or £4.75 for lunch and £2.50 for dinner.
“We are following guidelines and are anticipating we will have to close the day centre,” Mrs Peel said.
“But this won’t stop us continuing with 'meals on wheels' and we are making preparations to increase the amount that goes out to the vulnerable and elderly in the community who either can’t go out or are too frightened by the virus to go out.”
For more information or to enquire about volunteering call 01778 421422 or visit www.thebutterfield.org.uk