If you are at high risk from coronavirus and are shielding, and have little or no support, you can get help to get food and medicine delivered.
If you’re not able to leave the house because you’re shielding, and you’re not able to get food from the supermarkets (can anyone even get a delivery?!), then you still have options – don’t worry.
The government have set up a scheme so vulnerable people can get food and essential household supplies.
Help when you need to stay home
There are around 1.5 million people who are clinically vulnerable and have been told to stay home for 12 weeks and shield from coronavirus.
As people cannot get out safely, and if there is no support network of family or friends to help, food boxes are being delivered from the government.
This weekend alone, the first 50,000 free food boxes have been sent out.
The food boxes contain essential supplies and household items such as pasta, cornflakes, tinned goods, fruit, tea bags, toilet roll and biscuits.
It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of boxes will be delivered every week.
If you need help coming up with ideas for meals from what you get, as you may not be used to the ingredients, use this book from Jack Monroe which gives loads of ideas to make delicious recipes from food in tin cans.
Buy the Tin Can Cook book here.
As well as food, you can also get medicines and prescriptions delivered to your door by your pharmacy, plus you can get other care you may need.
How to get help from the government
Letters should have been sent out to people who are eligible for support. The letter should say “Important advice to keep you safe from coronavirus”.
But, not everyone got a letter.
If you haven’t had a letter yet, and think you should have had one, please call your GP.
The support of food boxes is there for people who have a medical condition which makes them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), and cannot get help elsewhere.
The government is asking that you first try to get support from family, friends and neighbours. Or, you could try to use online services, although that is tricky at the moment.
Most supermarket delivery slots are fully booked, but here are some other places who deliver food and supplies.
If you’re not able to get help locally to you, you can register for help with the government.
To register, they will ask for your NHS number, which you should be able to find on any letter the NHS has sent you. Or, you will be able to see it on a prescription.
Don’t worry if you can’t find it as you can still register without it.
You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.
This service is available in England. There’s separate guidance for:
Can you get a supermarket delivery?
If you can’t get out to the shops, the supermarkets have put scheduled times in place for the elderly, vulnerable and disabled, as well as NHS staff and other key workers.
This gives set times when it won’t be so busy without the general public.
On top of this, supermarkets are using the data they hold on you (from loyalty card schemes) to work out if you are older, and can then give more support/priority with online bookings.
I have seen they are all working with the government to understand other people who also need priority bookings.
Supermarkets will be getting lists and can then put in place systems, so the more vulnerable people can get easier access to supermarket deliveries.
Morrisons has launched a food box to make getting essential foods easier, and M&S is also launching one. The food boxes can feed two adults for a week.
Supermarkets aren’t the only option
If you need to get a delivery of food, there are loads of other options to get food delivered to your door.
Free school meal vouchers have also started to be issued from this week.
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