A CHARITY chief has warned that elderly people must continue eating healthily if they stop receiving the meals on wheels service.

Age UK Bolton has stressed the importance of nutritious meals as it responds to the news that the council-run community meals service could be axed.

Chief executive Suzanne Hilton said that ensuring vulnerable older people have a hot nutritious meal every day is "vitally important".

She said: “It’s not important who provides the meals.

"What is important is that they are good quality and nutritious, meet the highest food hygiene standards, are delivered by properly screened, trained and empathetic staff and that they are affordable and competitively priced."

The comments comes after the town hall announced that it could scrap its meals on wheels operation.

The move, which could see food bills rise by more than a third for some, could save the council £300,000 per year.

Mrs Hilton said she understands why the council has to reconsider delivering subsidised meals to around 300 residents every day.

But she urged the council to help those affected through their transition to commercial providers.

Wiltshire Farm Foods and Oakhouse Foods already deliver frozen meals for reheating in Bolton.

Some companies provide a hot meals service as well as welfare support, according to Cllr Andy Morgan.

The adult services executive also said that some local businesses are considering offering this service should the cuts go ahead after a consultation.

He said: “Should these changes go ahead, the council will ensure users of the service receive all the support they need to continue to live at home independently and to get access to a good quality, nutritious meal.

“We will also ensure that individuals who may require more support to allow them to stay at home, will be provided with support and ‘hand hold’ them through this process. This may also lead to helping people connect to community groups to prevent social isolation."

Age UK Bolton serves up nearly 12,000 hot two-course meals to more than 500 older people every year at lunch clubs and groups. It also provides free telephone or face-to-face advice.

For more information call 01204 382411 or visit the office at The Square, 53-55 Victoria Square.