$20,000 State Government funded solar system for Inverell Meals on Wheels allows the service to fire up their kitchen on Otho Street after a seven-year hiatus with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, President Aileen Roberts, Manager Beck Brennan and Board Members Margaret Lenord, Kerrie Kennedy, Sue Szumowski and Jodia Caine.
Friday, 17 December 2021
AFTER seven years the smell of fresh home cooked meals will once again waft from the kitchen of Inverell Meals on Wheels, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing a $20,000 State Government grant to install a 20 kilowatt solar system to off-set expensive energy costs.
Mr Marshall visited the home of Meals on Wheel on Otho Street where work is underway to get the commercial kitchen back to operational and producing nutritious meals for vulnerable members of the community.
“Since 2015 Inverell Meals on Wheels has outsourced the production of its daily dinners for more than 90 local clients,” Mr Marshall said.
“With demand for the service increasing dramatically in recent years the viability of Meals on Wheels operating its own commercial kitchen is once again back on the cards.
“To make the kitchen sustainable long-term the board has looked at ways to reduce overheads, one of which is offsetting its power bill which will be significant once the ovens fire back up.
“A 20 kilowatt grid, connected three-phase solar system, will give the service the financial buffer it needs.
“Being able to cook on site will offer Meals on Wheels greater quality control, flexibility with delivery, and ensure the individual dietary needs of customers are managed.
“Meals on Wheels is an important social service and I hope the return of the kitchen gives the Inverell arm the flexibility it needs to expand its reach into the future.”
Inverell Meals on Wheels President Aileen Roberts said it was fantastic to be able to return to their own premises and provide essential meals and support in the community.
“It is our vision to provide a meal service that assists the aged and disabled members of our town to access ready-to-eat nutritious meals and to support them to live the life they want to live,” Mrs Roberts said.
“We know from research that nutrition in the elderly plays a significant part in overall health status and malnutrition leads to increased risks of falls, greater likelihood of illness and hospitalisation.
“Not to mention the visits from our volunteers give us the opportunity to check a client’s wellbeing on a regular basis.
“The installation of the solar system will enable us to expand our services and offer cooking classes and meal preparation advice to the community.
“Annually we provide 28,000 meals, and in order to maintain that output from Otho Street we will have to hire a part-time qualified chef and kitchen hand.
“Local contractors are supplying and installing the solar system and we anticipate the project to be completed in late January 2022, with the hope of bringing the kitchen back online mid-2022.
“On behalf of our board, volunteers and clients I thank Adam and the State Government for their support.”