How to access the help available for vulnerable people, either due to medication, for health reasons or age during Covid-19 lockdown
I am classed as a vulnerable person due to being on immunosuppressants for Crohn’s Disease. I found it really stressful accessing the help available and I am on the internet all day long (literally). A friend of mine is a single person and is relying on her flatmate and I know that there must be elderly people, isolating alone away from family.
Not everyone is internet savvy so I thought I would pull all the resources into one post to try and help those in need and their families, as often it is their families who need to set the support up for them.
It is important you have help in place should you need it. You might have a partner or friend who is able to shop for you or collect prescriptions but what if they fall ill themselves? Please put something in place in the worst case scenario, even if you don’t need it, it will give you peace of mind.
First of all, to access help as a vulnerable person make sure you have complete the gov.com form: Get coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person.
Don’t worry, you won’t have people popping round to give you bed baths (unless you need them of course) but it will open up all sorts of doors.
The Government will pass these details to supermarkets who can put you on their priority list for click and collect and home deliveries. I did mine and it took around a week before I received an email from Sainsbury’s with a link to log in. If you find the app doesn’t work for you use the link in the email. It also seems you can only get slots for the following day – or at least that’s what I have found myself. Sainsbury’s are delivering in bags which are left by your front step – great contact free delivery.
Asda are emailing offering regular weekly delivery slots which is amazing, and really will put people’s minds at ease. Other supermarkets could learn a lot from this approach.
Contact your local council for help as a vulnerable person during lockdown
Your local council has all sorts of help available and can also put you in touch with other agencies. It will also help you with Council Tax payments. You have options to spread them over 12 months instead of 10, or take your two “free” months now instead of at the end of the financial year. You may also be eligible for help with your Council Tax, call and ask but be patient.
Check Facebook for local groups
Here in Sevenoaks we have a wonderful group Care for our Community – Sevenoaks (you can click the link to join if you are local) but there are groups all over the country. These amazing individuals are helping the most vulnerable in the community with shopping, collecting prescriptions and other tasks that they may need help with. If you aren’t vulnerable and getting a bit bored maybe you could consider volunteering with them – or even offer help remotely to help with admin.
Supermarket contact details for vulnerable people to access priority delivery slots (after filling out the Gov.com form):
Sainsburys: Telephone 0800 953 4988 – if you think you may have slipped through the net this is an automated phone line. Make sure you have your nectar card number
Ocado: Ocado@ocado.com – you can email them, they are very busy but helpful
Tesco: They don’t seem to be prioritising deliveries for vulnerable customers yet – please do let me know if I am wrong. They are supposed to be contacting people directly from the Gov form but I’ve not heard from them and I’m a current customer
Asda: Are contacting people directly who have received a letter from the government
Morrisons: Don’t seem to be prioritising vulnerable customers for online shopping (correct me if I’m wrong) but they have opened up phone lines for people who don’t shop online. Their customer care line is 0345 322 0000
Other important numbers you might need, and you can click the links to access the site:
National domestic abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247
Childline: 0800 1111
Shelter: 0808 800 4444
Age UK: 0800 678 1602
Mind: 0300 123 3393
Samaritans: 116 123
Please remember people at the end of the phone or online are human beings, doing their job and trying to help. Please be patient and kind.
Please let me know if any of the information needs updating or if you know of any resources I should be including.
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