Volunteers for charity Meals on Wheels say the service is under threat with branches surviving on bequests as the Federal Government fails to increase funding for the service, ABC News reports.
Triennial government grants provided to the organisation have not increased in more than a decade and, without more financial support, volunteers fear the vital service will not exist into the future.
“We’re at a stage now where we are actually, financially, going backward,” said Bruce Kafer, who volunteers at a branch in the New South Wales Illawarra region.
“Quite a generous bequest has enabled us to sustain a local operation but we’re at a point where that is running out.
“The cost of maintaining these organisations is growing and we are lobbying federal members to help us, but at the same time there is an expectation we can support ourselves.”
In New South Wales, fundraising and government grants totalled $1.2 million at June 30, 2018.
“There’s no question that the level of funding being provided by government to Meals on Wheels is inadequate to enable them to meet the needs of the communities in which they operate,” the CEO of Meals on Wheels NSW, Les MacDonald, said.
“Government simply doesn’t realise just how cheaply it gets these services from 30,000 volunteers we have around New South Wales.”$Mr MacDonald said the organisation faced a bleak future if the charity’s financial circumstances did not improve.
“I would hope and am working towards none of our services going out of business, but if the situation doesn’t change then that could well be an outcome,” he said.