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Armstrong welcomes plan for priority shopping slots to go to those shielding

Alliance Communities spokesperson, Kellie Armstrong MLA, has welcomed a way forward for those with shielding letters from their GP to be able to access priority online shopping delivery slots.

The Access to Food programme has been organised by the Departments for Communities and Health, with the Health and Social Care Boards, allowing those with shielding letters to register for priority booking with four major supermarket retailers – Asda, Iceland, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Kellie said: “I am delighted a process is finally in place to facilitate access to limited priority shopping slots, through an online registration form which is now available online https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/dfc-psu/online-shopping/

“The Department of Communities confirms registration information is subject to a verification process by the Health and Social Care Board, to ensure that only those who are shielding can avail of the slots. Once verification has been completed the supermarket will contact individuals and offer them a priority delivery slot (subject to availability). Supermarkets will prioritise current customers and then those that don’t currently have an online shopping account.

“While supermarkets have added additional delivery slots, the demand for delivery services is still very high.

“The Access to Food project of support includes online priority delivery slots, food parcels, Council co-ordinated volunteers who assist with shopping for those who need it. Hundreds of community organisations have availed of funding to assist with food support to vulnerable people and over 200 Spar, Eurospar and Vivo stores, as well as a large variety of independent retailers, are now also offering home delivery to help those who are unable to get access to groceries.”

A list of the stores offering this service and their direct telephone number is available on the Consumer Council website -https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/coronavirus/vulnerable#section-2849.

Anyone in need of food or other advice or support in the COVID-19 context should contact the COVID-19 Community Helpline 0808 802 0020.