Two years ago the Hairy Bikers undertook their biggest challenge yet, riding to the rescue of meals on wheels.
They wanted to rejuvenate the vital service, which delivers a hot lunch and a much-needed face-to-face visit to Britain’s elderly and infirm, into a lean mean catering machine fit to roll out across 21st century Britain. Now Si and Dave are back on the road, keen to find out if their plans have flourished or fallen apart at the seams.
In Programme One, the Bikers are heading to Elmbridge in Surrey where they worked with the local council to transform their tired menus and recruit desperately needed new volunteers. First stop is the kitchen to discover if the cooks have kept their pledge to prepare delicious menus from scratch and see if they’re still coming in on the strict £1.25 a head budget. The Bikers also want to find out if the number of volunteers has continued to rise or if the service is facing a desperate shortage.
There are plenty of old friends to catch-up with, including long-standing volunteer Grace who has recently taken an enforced break from delivering the meals, as well as Mr & Mrs Phillips, a couple who at 88 and 89-years-old respectively both rely on the crucial hot lunches. Si & Dave also hear about a new initiative to deliver meals into the neighbouring borough of Mole Valley, an area where traditional meals on wheels had ceased to exist.
The crowning glory is a visit by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall who as an eager supporter of meals on wheels previously visited Elmbridge to hear about Si & Dave’s work. Now HRH returns to see how the kitchen and volunteers are faring before helping Si and Dave to deliver the inaugural meals on wheels to Mole Valley.
In Programme Two, they’re heading north to Slaithwaite in West Yorkshire, where Si & Dave helped a team of local volunteers start a brand new meals on wheels from scratch. They want to know if the group has managed to keep the scheme going but when they first arrive they find an ominously empty kitchen. It soon turns out the team has moved to better premises in the local church where Si & Dave find preparations in full swing for the weekly delivery.
There’s some sad news about the larger than life recipient of the very first meal, 92-year-old Christine Clay, but Si & Dave take comfort after a chat with her daughter Fran. Spirits are then lifted with the results of a secret survey the Bikers have conducted to discover what the other local old folk make of the meals they get delivered. Just how important the service is to the recipients comes across loud and clear leaving the ladies and Bikers moved and emotional.
Si & Dave always wanted other local communities to be inspired to start their very own meals on wheels so they’re thrilled to discover a pub along the valley in Golcar now cooking meals that are delivered by volunteers around the village. In the mood for a celebration they gather friends old and new, including 97-year-old Hilda Clegg, for some slap-up food and a good old dance.