Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) provides a number of essential services for residents in Hertfordshire.
We got in contact with HILS so that we could find out more about the work that they do, and how they have had to adapt their services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find out what Hertfordshire Independent Living Service had to say about the work they do in Hertfordshire below.
Q. Can you explain what Hertfordshire Independent Living Service is, and the work that you do?
Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) is a not-for-profit, charitable, social enterprise, providing a wide range of support services for older and vulnerable people across the county of Hertfordshire.
In partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, HILS began in 2007, initially established as Hertfordshire Community Meals. In 2015, after developing a small catalogue of services, Hertfordshire Community Meals became Hertfordshire Independent Living Service. This new name reflected the growing number of additional independence-promoting services we offered.
We now offer 15 different services in addition to Meals on Wheels, some of which you can read about below.
Kingfisher and Hertswise dementia fun clubs
Daily weekday sessions for people living with mild to moderate dementia.
In-home exercise programme, providing 12 weeks of personalised strength and balance support.
Free Home from Hospital and Emergency Food and Grocery Pack
Three days worth of food and groceries delivered to you upon discharge or to your home.
Drop in lunch club
Daily weekday drop in restaurant in our St Albans Jubilee centre, offering a hot meal and dessert and an opportunity for older and vulnerable people to connect.
All our services are delivered by our dedicated and caring team members who are regularly trained to support the needs of our older community.
Q. Can you tell us a bit more about your Meals on Wheels service? Which meals are included?
Our Meals on Wheels service is more than just a meal, when your meal is delivered, our Community Team Member will check that you are okay and make you a drink if you would like one. If you are not home, our teams will complete a number of checks to make sure you are safe and well. If you need help remembering to take your medication, we offer medication prompts to our meals on wheels and pop-in clients for no additional charge.
As a meals on wheels client you will also have free access to our Nutrition and Wellbeing service. This one-of-a-kind service provides individual nutrition and wellbeing support with the aim to help you maintain a healthy weight. If you find that you have been losing weight unintentionally, or you are living with a health condition that makes it difficult for you to manage your diet, a member of our Nutrition and Wellbeing Team can support you for up to six months.
Q. Have you been able to continue delivering meals during the Covid-19 pandemic?
As an organisation supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the county, we worked hard to continue providing our vital support services safely. We introduced a number of procedures to support the safety of our clients and our teams including wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
We also worked closely with Public Health Hertfordshire to support our team members to receive their Coronavirus vaccine, resulting in the vast majority of our Community Team Members being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, our teams have been doing everything they can to get temporarily suspended services back up and running. While we were able to adapt many of our services to run in a COVID-Secure way, unfortunately we were not able to re-open our in-person Kingfisher dementia fun club. After months of virtual catch-ups and delivering activity packs to our clients’ homes, we were delighted to finally welcome our club back to the Jubilee Centre.
Q. How have your services affected the lives of residents in Hertfordshire?
This can best be answered with quotes from our clients!
Relative of Meals on Wheel client
“Since my dad came out of hospital in February this year, he has really enjoyed and looked forward to his lunch. I like the fact that a member of your team checks that he is okay when they deliver his food. Whenever I speak to the support team, I am always greeted by a happy, friendly and very helpful person.”
Meals on Wheels client
“I am very grateful to receive a cooked meal every day, delivered by a caring, courteous person with a smiling face.”
Kingfisher dementia club client
“Very grateful for the Kingfisher Club, I really enjoy the company and the staff are great. It’s always good fun and the lunch is delicious.”
“Hertswise run such an invaluable service that has been great not just for my mum but for me too!”
Q. How can somebody sign up for Meals on Wheels from HILS?
You can join our meals on wheels service by downloading our referral form and sending it to us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can sign up online via the Hertfordshire County Council website.
For more details on our services you can get in touch with our team on 0330 2000 103.