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Five charities call for supermarkets to sign up to key pledges

9th Apr 2020

United Kingdom

We've written to supermarkets with six key pledges, to ensure people with blood cancer and other vulnerable people shielding for 12 weeks can get food deliveries.

Supermarket shelves by John Cameron

We've written to six major supermarkets on behalf of five charities, each representing people who have been identified as being “extremely vulnerable” to becoming seriously unwell from the coronavirus.

These include people with blood cancer, kidney conditions, cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.

Together with Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation, Kidney Care UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and PKD Charity we have developed a list of six criteria that all supermarkets should meet, if they are to support people in the “extremely vulnerable” category at this exceptionally difficult time.

Our six pledges

  1. Giving people who are shielding and therefore in the “extremely vulnerable” category the single highest priority, even if they’re not an existing customer.
  2. Ensuring that people who meet the criteria for the “extremely vulnerable” category but have not yet received a letter are able to access priority slots.
  3. Make enough priority slots available to make sure everyone in the “extremely vulnerable” category can get a weekly delivery.
  4. Prominently displaying a button on their website for “extremely vulnerable” people and their families to easily find out how to get slots.
  5. Having a phoneline for people in the “extremely vulnerable” category to sort out issues with enough staff to enable people to get through within 20 minutes, and those answering phones should have access to people who can make decisions about who is eligible.
  6. Ensure that all the above applies to those living with someone shielding as well as the person themselves.

Across the UK there are more than 1.5 million people who are shielding, who are unable to leave their home for at least 12 weeks. Many of the people who live with them will also be shielding to help protect them.

We're pleased to see that over the last couple of days it has become easier for vulnerable people and their families to order food online. But even now, we're still hearing from people who are struggling to get home deliveries.

Gemma Peters, our Chief Executive, said: “We know the supermarkets have a huge challenge in responding to the coronavirus, and are doing their best in difficult circumstances. But given that people in the very high risk cannot leave their homes at all, it’s so important that they are able to get home deliveries.

"People are telling us that things are improving and slots are being made available, but there are some people who are very high risk who are still struggling to order food online. This gives them added stress at an already difficult time, as going out to the supermarket could put their health at risk.”

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