Meals on Wheels app wins $20,000

Meals on Wheels has been granted $20,000 in the first round of GigCity community grants stemming from Dunedin's Gigatown win last year.

Run by the St Barnabas Trust, Meals on Wheels was given the grant to continue production of an app that would lessen the workload for volunteers and streamline meal deliveries.

Meals on Wheels co-ordinator Lynette Keith said it was lovely to hear the news just before Christmas.

‘‘I thought it was like winning the lottery because it means that we are going to be able to provide a better service and it also means its going to be better for our staff to deliver meals,'' she said.

‘‘[It won't be] as labour intensive.''

Mrs Keith would be able to log all her deliveries for the day on the app, which would then calculate the fastest route and the order of deliveries.

This would mean drivers would not have to try to guess the best route before they started, cutting deliveries down from about two hours per driver to 30 minutes.

It was tough for drivers now as they had a different number of deliveries each day and, in most cases, they were delivering to different people each day, Mrs Keith said.

Up to 200 Meals on Wheels are delivered each day to the elderly and disabled.

The group has about 10 volunteer drivers.

Software developer Brian O'Neill said he and his wife delivered meals and found it frustrating trying to pick the best route and find the correct addresses, so came up with the idea.

‘‘[Drivers] know what they are going to be doing before they leave,'' Mr O'Neill said.

‘‘It will make a volunteer's life a bit easier to do their job.''

It was hoped the funding would be used to bring the app from a prototype to fully functioning and provide Meals on Wheels drivers with smart phones to use the app, Mr O'Neill said.

Other organisations to get a grant from the GigCity Community Fund of $500,000 were the Malcam Charitable Trust, which received $22,000 to begin work on a Mozilla Hive, which connects and engages youth digitally, Dunedin Gasworks Museum, which received $20,000 to extend its IT education for children, and Urban Dream Brokerage, which received $6000 to go towards revitalisation of vacant shop fronts.

Applications for the next round of funding open on March 11.

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