The coronavirus pandemic has thrown up many challenges for all of us, including shopping for food.
Thankfully, there is a widescale national effort to help. We summarise some of the support available to you below.
Help us spread the word
Even if these issues don’t affect you personally, it’s likely someone in your local community is facing challenges like those we’re describing here. Please have a think about anyone who might benefit from this advice and share it with them. This might be particularly relevant for people you know over 70-years-old. A simple phone call can go a long way.
If you are reading this on someone else’s behalf and they need help to register for any of the services we’ve listed below – perhaps due to lack of digital skills or internet access – please contact email@example.com and we will see how we can support them. You can also contact Louise if you would like to organise virtual training on online shopping, either for you or someone else.
Getting food delivered
There are lots of voluntary groups cropping up to support people with their shopping. Covid-19 mutual aid groups are one great example – they aim to help vulnerable people across the country with every aspect of self-isolation. Click this link to find your local group here.
If you wish to use this service and are still able to pay for food, it’s a good idea to have a look at the payment options available beforehand so that you can get your food shopping delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. Using click and collect is a good choice if possible, so that volunteers can pick up your order in full and immediately.
Priority online shopping
If you have received a letter from the NHS advising you to self-isolate due to a pre-existing health condition, you are eligible to sign up for the NHS volunteer service for food, medicine and social isolation support.
Register today and someone will contact you to ask what you need and how they can get it to you. The government sends the list of people who need food to supermarkets, and the supermarket should then contacts you to offer assistance. This includes priority online shopping so you can get food delivered quickly to your door.
Do you live in Westminster, Oxford, Bromley or Slough? If so, we can refer you to Goodgym and you will be matched you with a volunteer who will carry out £20 worth of shopping for you. You can either pay Goodgym electronically for the cost of your shopping or leave £20 cash out for the volunteer who will collect the money and deliver the change with your shopping.
If you are struggling to afford food due to the current pandemic, food banks can help you.
You can’t make a food bank referral yourself – you need to be referred by a professional agency such as A2Dominion, Citizens Advice, schools or local authorities.
To be referred to a food bank you can email firstname.lastname@example.org . Please provide your name, address and telephone number, and a tenancy sustainment officer will contact you.
The Trussel Trust is one of the main providers of food banks. If you are referred to a Trussel Trust foodbank, you can see where your nearest food bank is by searching using your postcode.
If you want more advice on how we can support you through financial challenges brought about by this pandemic, keep an eye out for our dedicated page on this subject that we will be publishing this week.
Free school meals even during holidays
Do you qualify for free school meals? If so, you’re due a food parcel or £15 of supermarket vouchers per week, even during school holidays. The government has now put measures in place across England to make sure you can access some form of food while your child's at home.
The school should arrange everything for you but if you haven’t heard anything and want to find out more, you can take a look at the government website.
UPDATE: The government have announced that any child who would be entitled to a free school meal will receive vouchers, money or free meals for the duration the child is off school.
Stay in the know
We will keep this page updated with any new information we have. We have also published separate articles about accessing food, financial assistance, social isolation and other support if you are socially isolated. In the meantime, if you are worried about a friend, family member or someone in your community, please do share this information with them – especially if they cannot easily access information online. Thanks for your help.