Coronavirus: information and updates

Food and essentials during coronavirus

The government, supermarkets and community groups are working together to make sure everyone can get the supplies they need.

We’ll try to keep this information up to date, but check with specific supermarkets and government information for the most recent updates.

Government support for extremely vulnerable people

In England

There is a support service for people with medical conditions that make them 'extremely vulnerable' to coronavirus. You’re considered extremely vulnerable if you have a medical condition that means you may become seriously ill from the virus. It’s not based on if you are disabled or how hard you find things like shopping or going outside.

People who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (GOV.UK)

This government support service can help you get essential supplies if you do not have help from friends, family and neighbours.

Register for the coronavirus support service (GOV.UK)

If you are registered but did not get your food box, contact your local authority for help.

Contact your local authority (GOV.UK)

In Wales

You should have received a letter from NHS Wales if you’re considered extremely vulnerable. You can get a free weekly food box from your local authority if your family and friends cannot help you.

Contact your local authority to ask about a free food box (gov.wales)

Warning If you cannot get government support or supermarket deliveries

If you are disabled but not considered extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, there are other ways to get essentials like:

Find more information about these services on this page.

If you are having trouble getting supermarket delivery slots, contact our helpline.

Local groups and volunteers can help you get food and essentials

Some local groups are co-ordinating volunteers to get essentials for people who cannot go to shops or get deliveries.

If you’re struggling to get deliveries because of high demand, contact your local support group. A volunteer should then contact you to arrange:

  • what shopping or prescriptions you need picking up
  • how to pay for your shopping
  • when they can drop your shopping to your door (they will not come inside your home)

Each group may vary slightly depending on how they’ve set up their support service.

Find local volunteer groups to help you get essentials

Supermarkets

Many supermarkets are changing their service to help those who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, or in self-isolation. This includes things like:

  • changing opening hours with certain times and days dedicated for vulnerable customers only
  • offering food boxes with essentials
  • creating priority delivery slots
  • restricting how many items you can buy so there’s enough for everyone
  • making sure people can shop safely

Some supermarkets in England are prioritising deliveries based on a government list of people who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

All supermarkets in Wales offering home delivery have been sent details of people shielding. This means your delivery will be prioritised.

Check each supermarket to find out how they’re allocating deliveries. You will need to register for online shopping on their website.

If you’re struggling to get deliveries from your supermarket, you could try phoning your local corner shop to see if they will deliver.

Access to vulnerable shopping hours

Many supermarkets are not asking for proof that you’re disabled or have a medical condition. If you’re asked you may just need to explain that you have a health condition or are disabled. If you’re worried about getting access to the vulnerable shopping hours, you could try taking disability benefit or blue badge paperwork with you.

You could also try getting a sunflower lanyard. This tells staff you have an invisible condition and may help you access the vulnerable shopping hours.

How to get a sunflower lanyard (Tesco)

Sunflower lanyard scheme (Sainsbury’s)

Warning Check your local supermarket website

Check your local supermarket website for updated information on changes to their services and the support they can give you.

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s is offering priority delivery and click and collect slots for older people, disabled people and vulnerable customers. If you are not on their vulnerable customers list, call free on 0800 328 1700. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 8am and 9am all their supermarkets will only serve older customers, disabled customers and carers.

Check Sainsbury’s for updates

Tesco

All Tesco stores (except Tesco Express) will prioritise older people and vulnerable people between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Tesco has home delivery and click and collect. They are increasing delivery slots for vulnerable customers.

Check Tesco for updates

Morrisons

Morrisons has no priority delivery slots or special shopping times but has started providing ‘food boxes’ with everyday essentials by courier.

Morrisons food boxes

Aldi

Aldi offers a Food Parcel for home delivery.

Vulnerable and older people can browse Aldi stores 30 minutes before they open, Monday to Saturday.

Check Aldi for updates

M&S

The first hour of trade is for people over 70 and vulnerable customers on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Order M&S groceries through Deliveroo

M&S food boxes

Check M&S for updates

Waitrose

The first opening hour of each Waitrose supermarket is for older people, vulnerable customers and those who look after them. Waitrose is also limiting how many people are in the shop at a time. This is to help keep the 2 metre social distancing.

Waitrose is delivering more than 40% online delivery slots to vulnerable customers. They say that this will increase as they prioritise new slots for those in need.

Check Waitrose for updates

Co-op

All Co-op stores have a dedicated shopping hour for those at higher risk and the people who care for them. Check with your local store for details.

Home delivery is restricted to 20 items to help meet demand.

Get support from Co-op

Check Co-op for updates

Spar

Spar has partnered with the Royal Voluntary Service to help vulnerable people get supplies.

Get support from a volunteer (Royal Voluntary Service)

Home Bargains

Home Bargains now offer an essential food box delivery.

Asda

Asda is working on providing priority home delivery slots for people the Government has identified as extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

They do not have dedicated shopping times for older or more vulnerable people. But the number of customers in a store will be limited to make sure people can use social distancing.

Check Asda for updates

Iceland

Iceland is offering home delivery but demand is still high.

Check Iceland for updates

Online delivery services

If you cannot get your food and essentials delivered from the supermarket, you could try:

Uber Eats

Uber Eats lets you search for local shops or supermarkets that deliver groceries.

Amazon

AmazonFresh is available for Prime members to order fresh food and essentials from local shops and supermarkets.

You can also find other food items, such as tea or canned goods through the main website if you’re not a Prime member. Check the delivery dates first as there may be delays.

Milk & More

Your local delivery service offers milk and other grocery items to existing customers only.

Register your interest as a new customer for Milk & More deliveries

Local veg box schemes or wholesale suppliers

Many supermarkets are overwhelmed with delivery demand. Check if there is a food box delivery scheme in your area. Some food wholesale suppliers have also now started doing home deliveries to help people get essentials. Just make sure you check the quantities of products if you’re buying from a wholesale supplier.

Some suppliers include other essentials like toilet paper but suppliers vary in what they can supply and where they deliver. Search for wholesale suppliers or food box schemes through:

Local food drops

Local Food Drops are a new service designed to help local communities access food supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Search for local wholesale suppliers that can deliver food to you.

Find a local food supplier (Local food drops)

On your doorstep

Use on your doorstep to search for local suppliers that will deliver food and essentials to your door.

While some companies are listed as wholesale suppliers, they are currently committing to delivering to households. The supplier location does not always mean they’re restricted to local deliveries and may distribute nationwide.

On your doorstep

New Covent Garden Market businesses

A range of businesses offering food and essentials deliveries in London and the surrounding areas.

New Covent Garden Market businesses

Wellocks

Wholesaler Wellocks is offering a variety of boxes for home delivery.

Wellocks at home

Soil Association organic food box scheme

This website can help you find a local organic food box scheme to get things like fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat.

Find an organic box scheme (Soil Association)

Food box finder

Food Box Finder helps you find farm veg box delivery services near you.

Food Box Finder

Meal delivery services

Meals on Wheels

If you are eligible, your council or other local organisations may provide meals delivered to your home.

Get meals at home (meals on wheels) (GOV.UK)

Wiltshire Farm Foods

Wiltshire Farm Foods are only accepting orders for ready meals from existing customers and those who are extremely vulnerable.

Check Wiltshire Farm Foods for updates

Cook

Cook offers home delivered frozen ready meals. Their delivery slots are busy but they are trying to make more available daily. They’re also continuing to prioritise those in “at risk” groups or self-isolating.

Check Cook for updates

Parsley Box

Cupboard stored ready-meals delivered to your door. They are taking new customers but delivery can take 3 to 4 days.

Parsley Box

Vibrant Vegan Co.

Vegan ready meals delivered to your door.

Vibrant Vegan Co. ready meals

HelloFresh

HelloFresh deliver ingredients for you to cook set meals you’ve chosen from their menu.

Check HelloFresh for updates

Gousto

Gousto also deliver ingredients for you to cook set meals but they are only taking orders from existing customers.

Check Gousto for updates

Other food deliveries

Check the latest updates on delivered food offers (MoneySaving Expert)

Food banks

Food banks are community organisations that support people who cannot afford the essentials. Search online for your local food bank or find a food bank on the Trussell Trust website.

Find a food bank (Trussell Trust)

Warning Do not use food banks if you can afford food

If you can afford food but are unable to get it because you’re self-isolating or for other reasons, do not go to a food bank. Contact your local authority for support instead.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)

Contact Citizens Advice

Last reviewed by Scope on: 11/06/2020

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