Meals service for elderly to be restored at Gale Farm Court

Meals at Gale Farm Court will be restarting in January following pressure from residents and new Westfield Councillor Andrew Waller.

Gale Farm Court Affected by meals decision

Gale Farm Court Affected by meals decision

The new service will be supplied via Age UK (formerly Age Concern) with freshly made meals being prepared daily.

The Council announced in September that it was scrapping the lunchtime meal option at its sheltered establishments. The move was heavily criticised for lack of consultation and it later emerged that the cost saving measure had been prompted by criticism of the quality of food provided by the previous contractor.

The Council hoped to save £50,000 by cutting meals services at its elderly persons establishments

Residents had thought that the Council were negotiating with other supplers and were stunned when the decision to scrap the service was made on 3rd September.

Despite appeals the meals stopped on 1st October – leaving residents too little time to appoint another supplier.

The Labour Cabinet member (Cunningham–Cross) refused to reply to Andrew Waller when he wrote, on behalf of residents, to ask for an extension to allow enough time for a new system to be worked out.

Andrew Waller commented

The new meals have been chosen by the residents, and they are pleased that the Council no longer manages the contract.

 Instead they are now in control and can take problems up directly with John O’Brien who is running the meals system.

It is sad that the Council treat residents of Gale Farm Court (and the other three sheltered homes run by the Council) so badly, and I hope that lessons have been learned for the future.

The Council has admitted to me that the situation was badly handled.”

The  incident has parallels with the muddle over the future of the  Castlegate centre for young people. There the Council was forced to reverse a closure decision earlier in the week and admitted that it had failed to consult properly on options.

More revelations on withdrawal of meals service for elderly

The York Council has admitted-  in a response to a Freedom of Information request – that it did not formally consult on ending the mid day meal service at its sheltered accommodation units.


Gale Farm Court Affected by meals decision

Gale Farm Court Affected by meals decision

Instead any discussions centred around the quality of the meal on offer.

The cut was implemented on 1st October.

The Council has also blamed officials for the decision to end the meals service which it is intended will save £50,000 a year.

They say that the Labour Cabinet approved the budget cut but implementation was delegated to council officials.

The FOI response can be read by clicking here

Liberal Democrats are pressing for the meals service to be restored and have pointed to the £30,000 a year being spent on the empty Oliver House home as one source of alternative funding.

If the Liberal Democrats win the Westfield by election it is also likely that the number of £20,000 a year Cabinet posts will be reduced from the present level of eight.


York Council cuts meals for elderly

Lunch off menu at Gale Farm Court, Barstow House etc


The Council is stopping  serving of lunch for residents in its sheltered accommodation units.

Potentially all sheltered units are affected and letters have gone out today to affected tenants.

Although the Council claims to have consulted about the planned withdrawal of the service, in reality most residents thought they were being told about changes to how the meals would be provided.

The termination of the service therefore comes as a shock.

It is partly a legacy of the social care budget scandal that became public earlier in the year.

The Cabinet member with responsibility for the service lost her job at that time but now it seems that vulnerable elderly people are the ones who will suffer.

The social side of the mid day meal is particularly valued by many residents of sheltered accommodation who otherwise can become isolated in their own flats.Behind closed doors logo

The decision appears to have been taken behind closed door. There was no public discussion about the options available to the Council and affected residents.

Earlier in the year concerns were raised about hygiene standards at some care homes in York

Sheltered units with extra care  in York include (click for details)

  1. Barstow House
  2. Gale Farm Court
  3. Glen Lodge
  4. Marjorie Waite Court