TRADE unionists and members of the public came together to lobby Bolton Council over its proposals to end community meals on wheels.

The service delivers meals to elderly and vulnerable residents but also checks on their wellbeing and alerts other services if there is a problem.

In August The Bolton News revealed that the community meals service would no longer be provided under new council proposals.

In response the UNISON union urged the council to look at ways to extend or enhance the “vital services” instead of cutting them.

As part of their campaign members of the union and residents protested at the town hall ahead of a meeting of the full council tonight.

The agenda for the meeting includes a discussion on creating a new assistant director role, which Unison says would cost around £100,000, cash it argues should be spend on retaining meals on wheels.

A Bolton UNISON spokesman said: “Community Meals offers a real lifeline to vulnerable people in the town.

“It is much more than a meals service it provides a real life line as well as much needed reassurance to families and friends. The service is one which people across the borough value and wish to maintain.

“We firmly believe that Bolton’s Meals On Wheels is a service well worth fighting to save.

“In Bolton we are all very much aware of the impact of government cuts to Bolton Council services, particularly over the past ten years. Over £175 million has been lost from the local authorities budget in recent years.

“Despite this, it is hoped that Bolton Council will respond positively to union proposals to put any decision on hold regarding the future of the Bolton’s Community Meals service in order that there can be more discussion about ways that this service can be maintained, and developed for the future.”

Hundreds of people across Bolton could be affected if the meals on wheels service is axed ­— driving up food bills for he elderly and leading to job losses and cuts to working hours for drivers.

However, it is estimated that the proposals could save the town hall almost £300,000 per year at a time when the council is seeking to plug a £23.5m hole in a two-year budget.

Councillor Andy Morgan, executive cabinet member for adult services, said: “A consultation has been undertaken on the proposals and all feed back will be considered before a final decision is made.

“Should the changes go ahead the council will ensure that all service users receive the support they need to continue living at home independently and to get access to a good quality, nutritious meal and the important welfare visit.”