New research released this month reveals that the number of vulnerable people receiving meals on wheels from their local council has dropped by nearly two thirds over the last five years.

The analysis, based on Freedom of Information requests, estimates that as few as 109,000 now receive meals on wheels compared to 296,000 in 2009/10.

Oakhouse Foods founder Tony Blood says, “Many of our customers rely on our home delivered meals and we have seen many more people turning to us for support when their meals on wheels have been cut. The loss of these services has had a real impact on the most needy in our communities and we’ve seen that first hand.

“As we know from 20 years of delivering to older people across the country, it’s not just about providing food but also being a friendly face and offering much needed human contact to people who are often very isolated. It’s an absolutely vital service. We would say to anyone who has been left without a meals service as a result of these cuts to please get in touch.”

The analysis of council run meals on wheels also showed that the cost of a single meal had risen by 22% in the last four years. "We know that price makes all the difference to a vulnerable older person living alone and prices at Oakhouse have gone up less than 10% in that period," says Blood.