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Coronavirus: Helping you get access to food and supplies

The Government is making food parcels available to elderly and vulnerable people across the country. They are working with the UK’s supermarkets, catering suppliers, charities and volunteers to get food and essential supplies to those in need.

In order to get access to food parcels and home delivery slots in the coming days, the Government has asked all extremely vulnerable people to fill in its online form to identify themselves.

In the meantime, we have compiled some information to help you navigate the current supermarkets offerings including details of which supermarkets that are still taking orders for delivery. This is a fast-moving situation so things could change. We will try and keep information as up to date as we can but please check directly with the supermarkets for current information.



Sainsbury’s: is prioritising older and vulnerable customers. They have emailed existing customers that fit into these categories but if you consider yourself vulnerable and are a new customer or an existing customer that hasn’t been emailed, Sainsbury’s asks you to contact them so they can prioritise your orders as well as filling in the Government’s online form (above).

Iceland: made the decision to temporarily limit online orders to customers over state pension age, self-isolating, or are otherwise vulnerable such as people with disabilities. Demand is still high for delivery slots but it means that those unable to go instore have a better chance to get food delivered.

Morrisons: To help give more people access to food deliveries, Morrisons has gone with a different approach to help ease the strain on delivery slots by offering Food Boxes. You can’t choose the products but Morrisons promises that the Food Boxes are filled with essentials that you’ll need. They contain £30 worth of groceries with a £5 delivery and have two options of either vegetarian or meat-eater. You can get your box or find out more here:

Tesco: has closed all 24-hour stores between 10pm and 6am. They have also asked that customers use the Click+Collect option when shopping online to free up spaces for more vulnerable customers like older people and people with existing health conditions. However, be warned slots are very limited.

Asda, has said that its delivery slots will be difficult to find and so have asked that customers be more flexible with delivery slots to help manage demand.

Waitrose’s delivery slots are filling up faster than usual but they are doing what they can to offer the maximum number of slots.

M&S has temporarily suspended its Food to Order service. It is working with Deliveroo through its BP outlets to deliver essential groceries to customer. This service is being rolled out so worth checking with Deliveroo if it is available in your area.

Co-op currently only offers delivery in London, Bristol, Brighton, Manchester, Southampton, and Bournemouth with delivery slots in some places fully booked up. For parents, Co-op is giving 6,500 free school meals at the Co-op’s 25 Academy schools, a £20 voucher to use at any Co-op store for every week of unplanned closure of schools for those who are eligible.

Ocado: solely a grocery delivery service, has stopped taking deliveries from new customers entirely because of such high demand.


If there are no delivery slots or options available from the main supermarkets, Deliveroo and Uber Eats are offering delivery from local stores such as Londis and Spar in some areas although some restrictions have been applied because of high demand, limited stock, or store closures. Check the Deliveroo or Uber Eats websites or apps for local availability.

Shopping instore

If you are able to go instore rather than get your groceries delivered, many stores are offering specific times where only older people and those at risk or otherwise vulnerable can shop. Similarly, several stores have given specific shopping times limited to NHS staff.

Tesco stores are open from 9am to 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday specifically for older and vulnerable customers, while every Sunday, NHS staff can shop in non-Express stores an hour before normal opening times.

Sainsbury’s is open from 8am to 9am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for vulnerable people and their carers. NHS staff also have a dedicated slot and can shop from Monday to Saturday between 7:30am and 8am.

Iceland stores are offering the first two hours after opening on a Wednesday to vulnerable customers and customers over state pension age after a store in Ireland announced that they were introducing the dedicated shopping time.

Asda only has one day were vulnerable and at-risk people can shop separately. Their larger stores are open for older and vulnerable customers from the regular opening time until 9am. NHS staff also have a dedicated slot in larger Asda stores on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8am to 9am.

Waitrose is offering the first hour after opening specifically to older people and generally more vulnerable customers and their carers.

M&S too are giving older and vulnerable customers the first hour of opening on Mondays and Thursdays to shop. NHS staff can access M&S stores first thing on both a Tuesday and a Friday.

Co-op has dedicated the first hour after opening to vulnerable and older customers. Times vary depending on stores but you can check your local Co-op opening times here.

Aldi has limited shoppers to four of any item and announced that they are donating £250,000 to Age UK to ensure that vital services offered by the charity can continue to support older people in a time when they are even more crucial.

Lidl doesn’t offer delivery but their stores are still open for those who can make the trip.

Other help available:

Covid Mutual Aid lists most of the nationwide coordinated volunteer action schemes. The postcode finder identifies groups near you who can help you source food and essentials, walk your dog, pick up medicines etc. You can also access Covid-19 Mutal Aid -UK on Facebook and Twitter.

Age UK: Provides support to older people. They can provide emergency packs for those who find themselves short. Call Age UK National Advice Line: 0800 678 1602.

The Silverline is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call them anytime on 0800 4 70 80 90.

Trussell Trust Food Bank supports a nationwide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Information correct at time of publishing. Please check with individual retailers and organisations for the latest updates for changes to service.

Related Help & Support Articles

Find helpful articles on finding your next home with Halton Housing, and how to apply for a home here.

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