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How to access groceries if you're vulnerable

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MSE_SarahMSE_Sarah MSE Staff
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Over a million people classed as 'extremely vulnerable' have been asked to isolate at home for 12 weeks to protect themselves from the current coronavirus pandemic. Along with the concern for health, this has caused many to worry about how to access basic supplies such as groceries, particularly with the high demand for online supermarket delivery slots. 

Read the full blog here: How to access groceries if you're vulnerable 


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  • edited 27 April at 5:00PM
    Gonna-be-debt-freeGonna-be-debt-free Forumite
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    edited 27 April at 5:00PM
    It's a good article, but it would be great to acknowledge the distinction between "clinically extremely vulnerable"/"extremely high risk" and "vulnerable"/"high risk". 
    • Those who are "clinically extremely vulnerable" get the shielding letter. 
    • Those of us who are just "vulnerable" (including over 70s) don't. 
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/

    I know several neighbors and acquaintances over the age of 70 who were really surprised that they didn't get a shielding letter and therefore couldn't access prioritized online deliver slots.
     
    Technically, those of us who are just "vulnerable" rather than "clinically extremely vulnerable" are in the same boat as the majority of the population now i.e. go out e.g. for shopping but only if it is necessary, and keep your distance from other people.  NB this was different in the week before lock-down when we were advised to follow stricter measures than the rest of the population.

    I wonder if, as a group, we will be forgotten about when easing measures are brought in?
  • DiamandisDiamandis Forumite
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    The problem here is that those who needed help before now are unable to get it. For example, I'm housebound due to mobility issues (wheelchair user in a property that isn't accessible) and unable to get online deliveries because I'm not in the shielding group. 
  • molleymolley Forumite
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    Jyst to add my experiences. Sainsburys added me based on my age tho'I  hadnt realised they had my dofb...additional slots are usually available Sunday/Monday. Iceland ones just popup so you need to keep checking same as Morrisons. Tesco didnt have me listed but added me when I phoned and was told to check on a Friday.my real gripe is the minimum order vslue and delivery charge. Sainsburys is £7 if you dont reach £40 to get the cheaper slots.Iceland is best at £2 from £25-£34.99
    As for the free grocery box ( in Scotland) what you get is basic packet and tinned stuff..Soup and Beans ,fruit and biscuits is useful but a bag of carrots and of spuds 2 weeks in a row is more than a single person needs .maybe if they varied the contents every 2nd week that wd help.
  • edited 28 April at 12:47AM
    Gonna-be-debt-freeGonna-be-debt-free Forumite
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    edited 28 April at 12:47AM
    molley said:
    Jyst to add my experiences. Sainsburys added me based on my age tho'I  hadnt realised they had my dofb...additional slots are usually available Sunday/Monday. Iceland ones just popup so you need to keep checking same as Morrisons. Tesco didnt have me listed but added me when I phoned and was told to check on a Friday.my real gripe is the minimum order vslue and delivery charge. Sainsburys is £7 if you dont reach £40 to get the cheaper slots.Iceland is best at £2 from £25-£34.99
    As for the free grocery box ( in Scotland) what you get is basic packet and tinned stuff..Soup and Beans ,fruit and biscuits is useful but a bag of carrots and of spuds 2 weeks in a row is more than a single person needs .maybe if they varied the contents every 2nd week that wd help.
    When you say they added you based on your age - you mean although you don’t have a shielding letter they still added you for priority access to delivery slots?  Both Sainsbury’s and Tesco?
  • MSE_SarahMSE_Sarah MSE Staff
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    MSE Staff
    It's a good article, but it would be great to acknowledge the distinction between "clinically extremely vulnerable"/"extremely high risk" and "vulnerable"/"high risk". 
    • Those who are "clinically extremely vulnerable" get the shielding letter. 
    • Those of us who are just "vulnerable" (including over 70s) don't. 
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/

    I know several neighbors and acquaintances over the age of 70 who were really surprised that they didn't get a shielding letter and therefore couldn't access prioritized online deliver slots.
     
    Technically, those of us who are just "vulnerable" rather than "clinically extremely vulnerable" are in the same boat as the majority of the population now i.e. go out e.g. for shopping but only if it is necessary, and keep your distance from other people.  NB this was different in the week before lock-down when we were advised to follow stricter measures than the rest of the population.

    I wonder if, as a group, we will be forgotten about when easing measures are brought in?
    Thanks for your feedback, I've added this distinction into the blog now  :)

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  • moodle68moodle68 Forumite
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    My 84 yr old mother, who is unwell and lives on her own, is on the shielding list and registered with the government. At the beginning of lockdown, I managed to get her a delivery with Ocado. Up until then, going out to food shop was one of her only joys so she never had deliveries. However, since then I have emailed Ocado several times as I have been unable to get her a further slot and just get a holding page. Ocado responded twice denying she was a priority. After further pushing, they came back to me to say that yes she’s in the shielding category, “but like all supermarkets”, they are prioritising loyal customers. I have since managed to get her a couple of slots with Tesco thankfully (even though she’s never used them before!). Therefore, I am utterly disappointed with Ocado. My neighbours who are not shielding seem to get deliveries from them without too much problem, so it seems to me that they are still helping their “loyal” customers but are completely neglecting the extremely vulnerable. I have heard this from others and I feel people should be aware as it appears to be very unfair. 
  • LelhelLelhel Forumite
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    We are a shielded household. My other half received a letter and is registered on the Government website. I have health issues. He’s had no contact from any of the supermarkets. 
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    Lelhel said:
    We are a shielded household. My other half received a letter and is registered on the Government website. I have health issues. He’s had no contact from any of the supermarkets. 
    When he registered there is a question that asks if you have support from friends or family to get essential supplies. I think your name is only passed to supermarkets if you answered no to that question.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • rebjartrebjart Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    I am based in Northern Ireland and received a shielding letter- because of a baby and toddler who can't socially distance from me within the house, we are all having to shield.
    Here, in NI, we have no access to any priority slots with supermarkets. 
    We cannot register on the government website as vulnerable as it is only for England.
    Majorly struggling to get slots! 

    We had been using tesco and signed up with their delivery saver scheme for over 2&half years but now when we need them it is next to impossible to secure a slot. I stay up to midnight almost every night and as soon as they are released, they are gone!! 

  • Duffer56Duffer56 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    I had the 12 week letter and I am now on 'the list' for priority slots for supermarkets.
    I am now also receiving the Government food boxes because I am on 'the list'
    As I can do my own own shopping on line as I have access to the priority slots I no longer need the government food parcels.
    If I de-register and come off of 'the list' then presumably will lose access to priority slots so wont be able to get food delivered so will need to register.........
    How can I find out how to cancel the government food boxes but still remain on the supermarket priority list
    I phoned Tesco this morning to check it out and they advised not to come off of 'the list' as they couldn't guarantee to keep me on the priority slot list

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