Pohlen Hospital kitchen team leader Mark Grist is particularly fond of sourcing fresh and seasonal produce, the best cuts of meat and making good, hearty traditional home style cooking. The difference here, however, is that he and his team are feeding more than the residents of the hospital – they’re delivered all over town and right in time for lunch.

The Meals on Wheels service operates from Monday to Friday and, contrary to popular belief, is available to anyone who lives in the community. Some, particularly those who live alone, would find it difficult to purchase such a variety of food more cost effectively – especially when you consider a main meal is just $8.50, or $10 including dessert. Others, for a variety of reasons, love the convenience of being able to reheat the lunchtime delivery for their evening meal. “I think one of the reasons the service has become so popular is that our customers know it’s the same as what they would cook at home,” says Mark. “Meat, one starch (such as potatoes), and two vegetables is filling and nutritious, and our desserts include everything from your traditional rice or sago pudding through to our weekly fruit crumbles served with our roasts. Wednesday is always roast day and it’s very popular – in fact, it’s our busiest day of the week generally, and I’m not surprised! Roast day includes all the trimmings so, if we are serving roast pork, for example, it comes with crackling and gravy or apple sauce – and roast potatoes, pumpkin and peas just you would expect. Our team are proud of all our meals, and it’s important to us that our community members not only enjoy good taste and quality, but also a good variety – particularly if they are regulars.”

As well as traditional hot meals that include meat, Pohlen Hospital Meals on Wheels can cater to other dietary requirements such as vegetarian or for diabetics. The service operates with volunteer groups who, in roughly six-week rotation, are a crucial part of the service. “We simply couldn’t provide the service we do at such a reasonable cost without our volunteers,” says Mark. “They are wonderful locals who whizz around as quickly as they can to ensure meals are hot, but also, for the less able or physically restricted, for example, car to kitchen service is never a problem. We just need to be made aware of requirements at the time of booking.”

If you would like further information about Meals on Wheels, contact Pohlen Hospital on 07 881 9100 and the reception girls will be happy to get you sorted. 24 hours notice is appreciated but as long as orders are in no later than 10 am the day of delivery, generally this can be accommodated. Although the service only delivers between Monday and Friday, frozen meals can be purchased to cover weekends if required.

Caron Stewart.


Pictured are Pohlen Hospital kitchen staff, Mark Grist, Team Leader, and Penelope Kleinjan packing up Meals on Wheels ready for pickup and delivery by their appreciated volunteers.