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If you need help during the coronavirus outbreak

There's information here for those who need help during the coronavirus outbreak and how to get it.

We can help you if you have no friends or family you can call on and:

  • you're self-isolating because you or a member of your household has tested positive for coronavirus or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
  • you're struggling to meet your basic needs because of financial, social or health restrictions related to COVID-19 (for example, you are shielding)
  • finding it difficult to leave your home for any other reason (for example, because of a disability)

We can help you with shopping, accessing a supermarket priority slot, fetching your prescription or finding someone to have a chat with.

Unfortunately, we cannot help with domestic jobs or looking after pets.

How to get the help you need

If you need help you can use our online form to register for it.

Register for help

Or you can phone us on tel: 01629 535091. Our phone lines are open on Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

One of our approved partner volunteer organisations will be in touch with you as soon as possible to offer you the help you need.

When you make a request for help, we pass it on to the local Council for Voluntary Service, or CVS within one working day who then arrange for one of their volunteers to help you. They do that as soon as they can, usually within a day or so.

Don't give your bank details, bank card or PIN to anyone, and don't give cash to anyone who is not part of this volunteer scheme or you already know.

Check that the person who comes to help you is from the voluntary organisation who contacted you.

If you feel unwell please seek advice from NHS 111.

If you've registered but you've heard nothing you don't need to register again. Please contact us on tel: 01629 535091.

What help is available

Our Community Response Unit can help you if you have an urgent issue which means you cannot meet your basic needs.

The range of support on offer includes:

  • access to food delivery from supermarkets and other commercial food outlets offering a food delivery or click and collect service, or help from a volunteer with food shopping and food deliveries. You'll need to pay for your shopping. The national system to deliver food parcels is no longer available
  • access to food supply such as food banks if you can confirm you are unable to pay for food
  • collecting and delivering medical prescriptions from a pharmacy or supermarket. The normal charges for prescriptions will apply
  • a friendly chat over the phone to help prevent loneliness if you are feeling isolated
  • offering advice about your health and wellbeing, staying mobile and active and help to quit smoking and lose weight
  • financial support and information on welfare benefits, debt and managing money

If you're clinically extremely vulnerable

If you've previously been identified by the NHS as someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, the government has announced that you no longer need to shield from 2 December 2020 and can return to work or education.

But the advice is to limit social interactions – or the number of people you meet or mix with – as much as possible.

You can join a 'Christmas bubble' of up to 3 households. But this does involve greater risks as this increases the number of people you are in contact with, so you may want to consider whether this is a risk you want to take.

Help is still available for those who need it. NHS volunteers can provide support for shopping, collecting prescriptions, friendly phone calls if you feel lonely or isolated or transport to medical appointments. You can find out more or request support on the NHS Volunteers website or tel: 0808 196 3646 from 8am to 8pm.

And our Community Response Unit can also help if you have no family, friends or neighbours who can support you.

If you live in an area where tier 3 restrictions are in place as part of the government's COVID alert system, you can continue to register for priority access to supermarket deliveries.

If you haven't already registered for priority access to a supermarket food delivery, the easiest and quickest way is to complete the online form on the government's website.

Once you've completed the form your details will be automatically sent to us and one of our friendly staff will contact you to discuss the support available locally

If you need help to complete the online form you can ask family or friends to complete it for you. Or you can phone the Community Response Unit tel: 01629 535091 and we can complete the form on your behalf. Our phone lines are open on Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Anyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable is also entitled to free vitamin D which helps with general health and in particular bone and muscle health.

To get a free supply of vitamin D for 4 months you'll need to register on the NHS website before 4 January 2021. You don't need to register if your GP already prescribes vitamin D supplements for you.

You can get more advice and guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.

Accessing a supermarket priority slot if you're not clinically extremely vulnerable

If you're vulnerable because you are self-isolating either temporarily or long-term as a result of COVID-19, our Community Response Unit can help you get a supermarket priority slot at Tesco and Iceland supermarkets to access food and essential items if you meet certain criteria.

This includes:

  • vulnerable people who have no other support network to shop for them
  • carers who can do online shopping on behalf of vulnerable people
  • care homes
  • referrals from food banks
  • anyone who received an official shielding letter, but didn't make the cut-off date for registration for shielding priority slots
  • individuals receiving support from mental health services

If you think you're eligible, and would like a slot, contact the Community Response Unit tel: 01629 535091. Our phone lines are open on Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Or you can register for help online to get supermarket support and a member of our team will generate a priority slot for you (delivery charges apply).

To speed things up, we recommend that you have a Tesco or Iceland account. But we can help with that if you don't have one.


We can generate a slot for you. You'll need to have a Tesco online account but this can be done afterwards. It just makes the process quicker if you already have one.


We can generate a pass code for you, then you'll be able to access a shopping slot. But you'll have to log on to the Iceland website between 9am and 1pm on a Thursday to get your slot.