Charity: Hertfordshire Independent Living Service

PUBLISHED: 10:20 19 June 2018

HILS provides home-delivered meals and much more to its clients (photo: HILS)

HILS provides home-delivered meals and much more to its clients (photo: HILS)


Delivering meals, support and social opportunities to older people across the county

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) is a charitable social enterprise – this means it trades to do good, support people, and reinvest any surplus into helping clients. It has a contract with Hertfordshire County Council to deliver meals on wheels for elderly people, using paid staff to deliver meals and volunteers to provide vital support in delivering other services.

The county council supported the establishment of Hertfordshire Community Meals as an independent, not-for-profit organisation to deliver meals on wheels across the county. The service began in 2007 with one site in Letchworth, two vehicles, and a team of volunteers in North Herts. By 2013, the other nine county districts had transferred their clients to HCM and four sites were established Hemel Hempstead, Letchworth, St Albans and Ware.

In 2015, HCM began operating as Hertfordshire Independent Living Service. This new name reflects the fact they do far more than deliver meals.

Margaret Brown, 84, has been receiving meals from HILS for two years, after being discharged from hospital. She says, ‘Not only do I enjoy the food, but I’ve got someone to chat to. It can get quite lonely here, and because I live on my own, I don’t see many people. I’ve got no family or anything, so it’s nice that someone comes in each day. The food is good, the service is reliable, and the drivers are very, very kind.’

Meals on wheels from HILS are delivered 365 days a year, including weekends, bank holidays, and Christmas Day. Meals arrive to your door, hot and ready to eat, between 11.30am and 2pm.

HILS also runs Dementia Fun Clubs, with every session offering a wide range of both group and individual activities, including food tastings, poetry readings, sing-a-longs and debates. The clubs are designed for people with mild to moderate dementia.

The charity offers a free grocery pack of essentials for individuals leaving hospital. Delivery can be made to the client’s home, a neighbour or hospital reception. To receive a Home from Hospital pack, HILS must receive a referral from a health or social care professional.

It now also offers medication reminders and prompts to clients. This service can be requested as part of meals on wheels or pop-in visits. There is no additional charge.

HILS is always on the lookout for new volunteers, particularly for the Dementia Fun Clubs. For more information on volunteering with the charity or accessing its services, call 0330 2000 103, visit the website, or email

This article is by North Herts Centre for Voluntary Services. There are seven CVS in the county, with hundreds of volunteering opportunities. Go to for more information.

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