School Caterers Put Their Meals on Wheels

Join Sustain’s webinar as we launch our new report: School caterers put their meals on wheels: A guide for local authorities and school caterers on delivering to older adults during Covid-19*.

In the webinar, we will be hearing about how caterers, councils and community groups are diversifying their business models to survive the crisis and are serving meals to those who need them in the community.

The Covid-19 crisis has had devastating repercussions for many sectors, families, and individuals. Older adults and disabled adults were already at increased risk of malnutrition before the Covid-19 crisis hit, with many unable to cook for themselves in their homes. The current crisis has exacerbated this problem, with over-75s encouraged to self-isolate, and many who were previously reliant on formal or informal care now unable or unwilling to use these same avenues. Alongside this, the catering industry has been particularly negatively impacted due to school closures, event cancellations and the closure of the hospitality sector at large. School caterers have closed their kitchens, furloughed staff, and have no certainty over when they will reopen or whether their supply lines will remain stable - which in turn puts schoolchildren’s future nutrition at risk.

One solution to these twin problems that is starting to emerge is the diversification of catering companies. School food caterers, for example, have started supplying cooked meals for older adults in the community. There are a number of ways to make this work, with councils, school food caterers, voluntary groups and community or school kitchens each taking on aspects of the work – from managing orders, to cooking food, to home delivery.


  • Julia Dowsett, Enfield Council Schools Food and Quality Manager – Julia has overseen the team’s shift from making food for school children to older people and rough sleepers in the local area
  • Simon Shaw, Winston Churchill Fellow - Simon has researched international Meals on Wheels provision
  • Rachel Tyrrell-Smith, Public Health Project Co-Ordinator, Lancaster City Council - With a background in public health nutrition, Rachel is working with partners on a number of public health issues within the Lancaster District including food and fuel poverty, social isolation and mental health.
*School Caterers put their Meals on Wheels report can be accessed here:

Please fill in the following fields to register for this recording:
Your e-mail address and personal information are confidential and will not be sold or rented.