COUNCILLORS are ‘very worried’ that numbers receiving community meals in Monmouthshire has fallen below 1,000 a week following a price rise.

The council service, previously ‘meals on wheels’, sees hot or frozen meals delivered to anyone who has an assessed need.

Increasing prices was hoped to bring in an extra £15,000 but the council says the saving is now unlikely due to a drop in numbers.

The price for a main meal and dessert went up by 45p to £4.50 per day as part of savings in last year’s budget.

Cllr Martyn Groucutt said the council’s adults select committee was “very worried” about the decrease in numbers, adding the service also ensures vulnerable people are checked up on.

Cllr Frances Taylor, chairwoman of the committee, added: “It would seem to be a little bit of a coincidence that we have increased the cost and we have had a decrease in take up.”

Eve Parkinson, council head of adult services, told the committee there were a variety of reasons for the fall, including new council initiatives helping to combat loneliness and encouraging people to become more independent.

“We want Monmouthshire Meals to be part of the bigger intervention if somebody is lonely and isolated,” she said.

The council has also run a trial of a Monmouthshire Meals Plus service. Instead of drivers just delivering meals, they would also spend up to 15 minutes at the person’s home for a chat and a cup of tea under the scheme.

Council officials are now considering the results of the pilot and whether the scheme can be rolled out.