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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.

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

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.

People who were previously shielding

As of 1st August, the government paused shielding. This means that support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop.

NHS Volunteer Responders will carry on delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essentials items to you if you need it.

You will also be eligible for priority supermarket slots if you registered by 17th July.

Further information on the pausing of shielding is available.

If you are concerned, support options can be discussed by calling the Council COVID-19 helpline on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).

Alternatively, organisations in your local community may be running services which can support you.

Community food options

Many people and organisations are working to make sure everybody can get food. Organisations such as the London Irish Centre, 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.

As organisations begin to safely welcome residents back to buildings, London Irish Centre are launching their new COVID-safe community cafe on 15th September

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.

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 some food banks are operating a bit differently and do not require a voucher 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 sightedvisit 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.

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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