USERS of a meals on wheels service in Blackburn and Darwen face a price hike of almost £2 per meal as a council subsidy comes to an end.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has a contract with Blackpool-based ICare to provide the service in the borough.

The council pays £1.90 towards the £4.80 price of a two-course meal, but the contract will not be renewed when it ends on March 31.

Those wishing to continue buying meals from ICare will have to pay the full price of £4.80.

But people who do not wish to pay the full price have been given a range of options by the council, which has linked up with Blackburn charity Care Network.

A spokesman for ICare said: “We will be charging no more than the price previously charged with the subsidy.

“At this amount, including overheads and staffing, we will be making minimal profit as a business.

“We want to provide continuity for those who wish to receive the hot meal, and we appreciate these are difficult times all round for everyone.”

Coun Mohammed Khan, executive member for health and social care, said: “Meals on wheels is an important service, so I am pleased we have been able to work with Care Network, who will provide residents with a range of options to make sure they can continue to receive nutr-itious food in a manner that fits their needs.

“We are committed to giving people more choice, and our work with the Care Net-work fits in with that commitment.

“We are in extremely challenging times financially, so we have to find ways of working innovatively to ensure residents’ needs are being met within the funding we have available.”

Options open to people who wish to stop using the service provided by ICare include:

  • Frozen meal delivery service, with prices ranging from £2.30 to £5.75, plus delivery charge
  • Grocery delivery service for those who wish to prepare their own meals
  • Meal preparation service, where somebody will come and cook at the user’s home
  • Assisted shopping, where people are taken to the supermarket to choose what they want People wishing to access any of those services can call Care Network on 01254 507255.