Hertfordshire Independent Living Services (HILS) this year celebrates 10 years of helping elderly and vulnerable people across the county to continue living in their own home. Established in 2007, the service began as a meals on wheels provider, with just one site at Letchworth and two vehicles. Ten years later HILS claims to be the largest and most successful not-for-profit meals on wheels service in the UK, now with 200 staff and volunteers, 68 vehicles and four offices, including St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.
Having started out as Hertfordshire Community Meals, the organisation changed its name to HILS in 2015 to reflect the wider range of support services it now offers alongside meals on wheels deliveries. These include nutrition and wellbeing checks and advice, community alarms and telecare equipment, pop-in visits and medication prompts, and emergency food and grocery packs. Hertfordshire Independent Living Services also offers advocacy support to help people make the right choices regarding their health and social care options. This may include accompanying claimants to meetings, researching and explaining care options and speaking or writing on their behalf. In addition, HILS runs the Jubilee Centre in St Albans, a Community Centre with rooms available to hire that is used by over 50 local groups, and which also offers a daily drop-in lunch service for the elderly.
With a turnover of £3.7 million a year, 13,000 people supported in their homes, and over 4 million meals delivered since it began, Hertfordshire Independent Living Services is now an essential part of social care in the county. HILS also has a wider contribution to society – research in 2012 estimated that every £1 spent on the meals on wheels service brought benefits worth an average of £5.28 in terms of savings in health care, social services and care home costs.
HILS says that its aim is “Keeping people healthy, happy, and independent at home.” A worthy sentiment, and something we’d all hope for as we approach our twilight years.
For more information on HILS go to: https://hertsindependentliving.org/
If you are concerned about the care needs of a family member or friend, Bretherton Law can offer expert advice on property, inheritance tax planning, wills and probate, powers of attorney, trusts and estate administration. Contact us on 01727 869293 for some friendly specialist advice.