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Food, shopping and other supplies

Food supplies

If you are staying at home in order to protect yourself and others from coronavirus you may have to explore new ways of getting essential items.

With the new NHS Test and Trace system now in place it is possible that you may be contacted and told to self-isolate for 14 days, even if you and the people you live with feel well. You may wish to consider ensuring that you and those you support or care for have some emergency food supplies at home in case you are contacted and asked to self-isolate.

Even though not being able to leave the house makes it especially difficult to get specialist foods which you may require for dietary or religious/cultural reasons, ordering goods via the internet provides extensive choice. For  help with online shopping visit the Practical support and volunteer section.

News about staying at home came without much warning so government emergency food measures are in place and a whole array of creative responses have emerged to ensure that everybody can get hold of the food that they need.

If you are currently not able to get food you should call the Council COVID-19 helpline on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).

Anybody with less than two days food available can request an emergency food parcel to be delivered to their home by phoning Age UK Camden on 020 7837 3777.  Dietary and cultural/religious needs are addressed where possible.  On Friday 26th June the final Age UK food parcels will be delivered. Final orders will be accepted until 1pm on Thursday 25th June. 

If you were getting meals at day centres or community centres in the past, you may wish to contact these services now about the possibility of food delivery and any other services.

Government support for shielded people

If you are at very high risk from COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus) you are classed as ‘shielded’.  You will have been advised to stay at home as much as possible and should have received a letter advising you to register for support.  There is more information about who is shielded and how to register for support.

By now those on the register should have been contacted by council staff to discuss any support needs. Food and basic hygiene products will be delivered twice a week and where possible a regular hot meal will be provided through this service. If there are any concerns about prescriptions or picking up medicine this can also be addressed during these telephone calls.

To follow up on food deliveries, you should contact the Council COVID-19 helpline on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).

Community food options

Many people and organisations are working to make sure everybody can get food. Organisations such as the London Irish Centre, Age UK Camden, Life after Hummus Community Benefit Society, Highgate and Newtown Community Centre and many others are offering either food parcels, heat at home meals, hot food delivery or supplies from food banks.

A list of community organisations offering food for vulnerable residents is available to download.

It is advisable to contact individual organisations by telephone or email for more information.

Hot and heat at home food deliveries

London Independent Living Service (LILS) is taking Camden referrals for hot meals delivered to the home. During the current COVID-19 crisis, LILS will prioritise the elderly, and those identified by the government as being vulnerable. You will be eligible if you have difficulty preparing a meal safely, have a mental or physical disability, have a carer who is unwell or on holiday, have come out of the hospital or are recovering from an illness or have difficulty cooking due to a bereavement. There is no age limit.

Contact LILS on 03333 444 806, or email

Food banks

Food banks and charities distributing free food to vulnerable people have been around for a long time. They provide food for families and individuals in urgent need. A food voucher is normally required to access a food bank, but during these challenging times if you need to access a food bank but do not have a food voucher you can still visit the food bank and do not need to call in advance.  A list of food banks is available to download.


If you are self-isolating and therefore cannot leave your home, there are a number of options that can be explored for shopping differently. These include:

  • asking family, friends and neighbours who are able to go out to do some extra shopping
  • ordering food over the telephone or via the internet; a family member or friend may be able to help with the ordering, paying or collecting goods ordered in this way.


Supermarkets have been responsive and offer a range of support measures such as:

  • priority online shopping slots – people who are on the shielded list should be contacted directly by Tesco and Sainsbury’s to be offered priority online shopping slots.  If you are blind or partially sighted, visit the RNIB website for an update on supermarket information and priority slots
  • dedicated shopping times for vulnerable people (for those who want to or feel that they must go out)
  • shopping prepaid cards so that carers, friends and family members can shop without using their own money
  • basic product food boxes offering less choice but reliable delivery

Details from nine supermarkets and what they can do are available in a downloadable  table.

Money Saving Expert provides a comprehensive article about the ways to access groceries including supermarket responses, local food suppliers and businesses.

Fresh produce deliveries

Thirty New Covent Garden Market businesses are supplying fresh fruit, vegetables, fish meat and much more, some offering free delivery on minimum orders of £20 and next day delivery. All of the businesses, prices, telephone and email contact details are listed on their website, New Covent Garden Market.

London Dairies offer next day delivery on over 150 food lines.  A product and price list is available to download.  These are the items that they currently have available for home delivery customers.

Minimum order for free delivery is £20. To minimise contact with customers they take card payments over the telephone 020 8440 0619, email:


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