I always enjoy watching cooking programmes, even more so if the cooking is combined with a story or issue. Last year I watched Meal on Wheels which was presented by Si King and Dave Myer, who are more commonly known as The Hairy Bikers.

The show investigated meals on wheels services for elderly people and saw The Hairy Bikers set up their own kitchen where new and improved dishes were created. It was a real success and great programme that incorporated food with a topical issue that affects thousands of old people across the country.

The-Hairy-Dieters creative

Now The Hairy Bikers have a new cooking show, Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight, which sees Si and Dave tackle some of their own issues. In the series the two cook reflect on their food habits and how such has impacted their weight.

In brief the show explores if it’s possible for two food loving cooks to lose weight (they both aim to lose 2 and half stone in three months) whilst still enjoying delicious dishes. The first episode of the series was aired last week and I admittedly missed it.  However the second episode is on BBC Two this evening at 8pm which I’ll definitely be watching.

I’m really keen to see the recipes that Si and Dave come up with as I have a number of their cookery books and although their recipes do provide the most delicious results- especially The Hairy Bikers pie, the majority of dishes include rich ingredients like cream, butter and olive oils, which Si and Dave hope to substitute throughout this series.

It should be a really interesting watch and let’s face it, if Si and Dave who are constantly surrounded by delicious food can lose weight anyone can! If like me you missed episode one catch up on BBC iPlayer.

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Meals on wheels logoLast night Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels series came to an end after four brilliant episodes which documented Si King and Dave Myers’ mission to reinvent Meals on Wheels into a service which older people of Britain could truly rely upon.

Throughout the series we’ve seen Si and Dave work in Elmbridge, Surrey and Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire. In last night’s episode the pair revisited both communities to see how Meals on Wheels is progressing thus far.

The Hairy Bikers’ weren’t disappointed as although the two services have different foundations; Elmbridge is a council funded service, whereas Slaithwaite depends solely on volunteers and fundraising. The two have come on leaps and bounds since the Hairy Bikers’ first introduced their new Meals on Wheels plan.

meals on wheels team

So much so that last night’s episode had a somewhat celebratory theme. In Slaithwaite the team have mastered the basics and are now making their service a little more diverse. By offering a monthly community lunch older people are getting the chance to meet one another and eat lunch together; giving them something to look forward to and get more social interaction.

In Elmbridge, where the team work to a tight budget (only £1.25 a head) they were surprised by a rather special guest who dropping in for lunch. The Duchess of Cornwall, who is an enormous advocate of the Meals on Wheels service, joined the team and the Hairy Bikers’ to lend a recipe and meet Meals on Wheels volunteers and recipients.

meals on wheels camilla

Elsewhere with the buzz around Meals on Wheels mounting Si, Dave and their Meals on Wheels teams took to London to share the new brand identity and hopefully raise Meals on Wheels’ profile.

It was great to see famous faces join the Meals on Wheels team too. As Arlene Phillips, Ann Widdecombe, Fiona Phillips and Antonio Carluccio, who each had a personal story behind their interest in Meals on Wheels got to hear more about the service. Each pledging to do what they can to help. Fantastically Arlene offered to spare a couple of hours to deliver meals herself, proving that anyone and everyone can help to deliver a difference.

pledge cards meals on wheels

Overall the series has been quite fantastic as Si and Dave’s genuine passion to make a change really has shone.  They’ve handled the difficult task incredibly well, proving exceptional results. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more great things about local Meals on Wheels service soon.

Watch The Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC Iplayer and for more infomration including how to volunteer click here.

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Meals on wheels logoLast night Si King and Dave Myers made their way to Slaithwaite, a small town in West Yorkshire where Meals on Wheels were stopped completed due to lack of funding. In the episode the Hairy Bikers’ faced a new challenge of not only finding volunteers but creating a Meals on Wheels service from scratch.

It was 12 business women who came to Slaithwaite’s rescue to work alongside Si and Dave and create the new Meals on Wheels service. The ladies have great spirit and showed tremendous amount of commitment; it’s great to see professional people finding the time to help proving that everyone can make a difference.

Although the ladies beam with enthusiasm the Hairy Bikers wanted to ensure that they understood the elderly people who they would be visiting. So they carried out shock tactics and put volunteer Julie into isolation for 48 hours, allowing her to get a feel for the loneliness which many elderly people feel regularly.

This lack of human contact really struck a chord with Julie who felt lonely, rejected and empty. Ultimately the experience pushed the Slaithwaite ladies to make a serious commitment to deliver delicious meals and importantly offer a friendship to elderly people of their community.

Slathwaite ladies

A huge problem facing Slaithwaite was funding. Inspired by the ladies previous fundraising campaign – a nude calendar, Si and Dave bared all to get the word out about Meals on Wheels. Photographed behind their motorbikes with only a cabbage to cover their dignity, the risqué image were printed onto t-shirts for locals to buy and definitely got the community talking rising an incredible £1000 for the kitty.

So with a team of volunteers, money in the bank and the best Slaithwaite recipes the only thing they had to do was execute a fantastic first delivery. It’s fair to say that it wasn’t faultless but after a little organisation and delegation it was a true triumph. The proof was in the pudding as a serving of Shepherd’s Pie really did make one elderly residents day!

hairy bikers nude photo

This has most certainly been my favourite episode so far as it’s great to see Slaithwaite come together. Their community spirit offers inspiration to other villages, towns and cities around the country to make their Meals on Wheels a success once again.

Watch Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC iplayer now also visit BBC’s Hairy Bikers’ website to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

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I tuned into the second episode of The Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC Two last night to see how Si King and Dave Myers are getting on in the campaign to relight the Meals on Wheels fire!

Still based in Elmbridge, Surrey where Meals on Wheels are provided to the elderly by the local authority. The Hairy Bikers delved deeper into the problems which the service has to tackle before success can truly happen…. more volunteers.

si and dave MOW

As a professional business woman I’m strongly aware of the importance of a brand identity. Without such a brand isn’t cohesive- it really is that simple. At Bath-Knight we rely heavily upon our brand to tie everything together so that our customers know who were are. The lack of identity within Meals on Wheels was an unavoidable problem in last night’s show. As Si and Dave discovered that people knew about Meals on Wheels but didn’t know where they should go to get more information. This coupled with the out-dated and lacklustre promotional material lead the Hairy Bikers’ to leading creative agency Saatchi X.

help-wanted-meals-on-wheels logoThe outcome was fantastic branding which give Meal on Wheels a great identity that is importantly attractive to all. Finished with the tagline ‘Delivering a Difference’ to entice people to offer a helping hand, whether it be delivering a meal or washing pots and pans in the kitchen.

The show brilliantly displayed the variety of people willing to help out after been given a positive nudge by the Hairy Bikers’. With the help of Si and Dave volunteers came from all different walks of life from a young mum, a freelance worker who has free time and a young unemployed gentleman who was looking for something positive to fill his days.

The Hairy Bikers’ also called on the local catering college to get young creative minds to come up with delicious dishes to be included in the Meals on Wheels menu. The results were fantastic and even better the students offered their time in the kitchen too.

meals on wheels team

Not to disappoint Si and Dave (with lots of help from the students) treated the town to the largest ever meals on wheels offering a portion of homemade cottage pie and slice of cake to those who were willing to volunteer their time to help feed the elderly people within their community.

The series is incredibly positive and the results are splendid to watch as clients are receiving ‘10/10’ meals which are delivered with a friendly smile. Next week Si and Dave are in Yorkshire seeing how they can help better Meals on Wheels elsewhere in the country.

To find voluntary position in your local area – click here and watch Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC iplayer

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Many of my readers will know that I love to enjoy great food with great company. For my most recent birthday I received a fabulous collection of recipes compiled by my closest friends, relatives and colleagues which remind me (and them) of fond memories together.

This passion for great food drew my attention to a new series which aired on BBC two last Tuesday night. Hosted by Dave Myers and Si King known to many foodies as the ‘Hairy Bikers’ we see the two investigate ‘Meals on Wheels’, the institution which has fed vulnerable elderly people here in Britain since the war and why it is falling into decline.

meals on wheels

Having watched Tuesday’s episode it’s sad to see that Meals on Wheels has become so out dated and unstaffed. Staggeringly in recent years the meals delivered to elderly people has been cut by a third. This is generally down to the complexity to which the Meals on Wheels system works.

I wasn’t aware of the ‘postcode lottery’ which the iconic culinary service holds as service providers vary from local authorities to privately owned business and charities. But essentially it is volunteers who are the back bone of Meals on Wheels. Those who delivery meals to our grandparents and elderly neighbours but sadly willing volunteers are in decline too.

To make a gloomy picture seem a little duller watching Si and Dave try out what Meals on Wheels actually offer to their clients is also saddening. For those who are lucky enough to receive a meal are often left with a bundle of frozen fodder or a warm meal which has been cooked from frozen supplies. It was surprising to see that a Meals on Wheels kitchen in Elmsbridge wasn’t even supplied with kitchen knives never mind fresh veggies to peel, chop and dice.

meals on wheels delivery

So the Hairy Bikers have a mission… to make a change and give the elderly people quality food, healthy food and a great variety of fresh food from Meals on Wheels which they all very much deserve. Additionally they want to create a more up to date image of Meals on Wheels, one which people will want to be involved with, hopefully introducing a new generation to the once British phenomenon.

Episode one introduced 77 year old Grace, 88 year old Gloria and 81 year old Sue who have all decided their time for decades. But it’s essential to get more people on board to offer a larger variety and more social interaction for the elderly people who depend heavily on Meals on Wheels for food and friendship. And the Hairy Bikers plan to make this happen.

Hairy Bikers Meals on Wheels

I do hope that Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels inspires people to help make a difference as the passion which Si and Dave have is incredibly inspiring to watch. Personally I loved to watching the show and really am anticipating next week’s episode as its documents a wonderful campaign, delicious food and importantly sheds light on the hard fact that unless change happens; fresher food, better meal choices and more volunteers the services available for our ever growing aging population looks grim.

For more information visit www.bbc.co.uk/hairybikers and watch on BBC iPlayer

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