Meat goes off the menu at day centres

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

New and cheaper charges for services are to be introduced by Jewish Care as part of its recession-beating strategy.

From late April, a flexible pricing structure for activities, food and transport will be implemented at its day centres. Last month, chief executive Simon Morris announced that up to 22 jobs would be cut at head office as part of attempts to save £2.5 million.

After Pesach, service users will be asked to pay £1 for transport to centres and £3.50 per day for activities, rather than the current all-inclusive charges of between £10 and £12.

The three-course meat meals available at its 10 community centres will be replaced with a milky, cafeteria-style option of omelettes, pasta and baked potatoes. Diners will pay £4 for the new meals.

Jewish Care believes that as well as cutting costs for clients, the changes will reduce its outlay on food and fuel.

But not everyone is happy with the plan. Norman Bright, 72 — a regular user of the meal service at the Brenner Community Centre in Stamford Hill — said the move would leave around a dozen pensioners he knew without kosher meat dinners.

“Jewish Care has cut back in many ways and quite ruthlessly,” he claimed. “My neighbour is 90. He always looked forward to going to the centre — it made his day to go out for a meal.”

The charity’s director of care and community services, Neil Taylor, acknowledged “that some members may be disappointed to find they will no longer be able to get a hot meaty meal. But there will be a wide variety of freshly prepared hot and cold food.

“We also felt it was important people could control what they spend as they will only pay for what they choose to eat.”

    Last updated: 9:57am, February 12 2009