Sainsbury's Head Office have been in touch with an update on what the supermarket chain is doing to support its vulnerable customers who find themselves in need of home deliveries due to shielding or self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic:
SUPPORTING VULNERABLE CUSTOMERS
Early in the crisis we prioritised our elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers. We instigated dedicated shopping hours in our stores and were the first supermarket to prioritise elderly and vulnerable customers for online grocery deliveries. We have offered over 725,000 elderly and vulnerable people online deliveries so far. This includes 450,000 who we found using our own data. We are now working through the growing list of people who have registered with their government to say they are vulnerable and require home deliveries.
We are receiving data regularly and have been able to match over 275,000 additional customers in England, Scotland and Wales against our database so far, and we are contacting them to arrange prioritised home delivery. We will be in touch with more customers based on the database we receive from Northern Ireland as soon as we can.
We understand that there will still be vulnerable people who may have difficulty accessing a delivery slot and we are doing everything we can to support them. We have rapidly increased our Groceries Online and Click & Collect capacity by redeploying colleagues and employing more pickers and delivery drivers. Soon we will be offering 600,000 slots across home delivery and Click & Collect each week. However there are millions of elderly, disabled and vulnerable people across the country and even with the new capacity supermarkets cannot meet the demand for home deliveries.
There are however many ways that customers can access support and still shop with us and I wanted to set these out so you can share with those who are in need of support.
- The UK Government’s and devolved administrations’ extremely vulnerable lists
If they live in England, Scotland or Wales and believe they qualify as an extremely vulnerable person, customers should visit the respective government websites for information on how to receive help:
Once an individual on the Government’s list has been matched to our customer database we contact them to confirm this and provide instructions on how they can book a delivery slot. We are prioritising these customers for online delivery slots but we continue to experience incredibly high demand for them. As such, we are advising customers to check as soon as possible after receiving notification from us and to keep checking regularly as slots become available.
We are working with the Northern Ireland Executive on a database of extremely vulnerable people and as soon as we have their details, we will be contacting these customers too.
- Sainsbury’s customers registered with us as vulnerable
As outlined above, we have identified 450,000 elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers from our own data. These customers will continue to have access to home delivery slots as they become available. Due to the current level of demand we can only offer delivery slots to customers previously registered with us as a vulnerable customer or those who have been identified by the Government as extremely vulnerable.
- Click & Collect
We are offering alternatives to home deliveries for all our customers, including those that are more vulnerable. For example, we have set up new Click & Collect grocery operations in an additional 128 stores, providing our customers with a quick and efficient way to collect their shopping with minimal interaction. If this is a service your constituent would be interested in we would advise them to regularly check their Sainsbury’s account for available slots.
- Friends, family & volunteers
We know many elderly, disabled and vulnerable people who need to self-isolate are relying on the support of family, friends and local communities to shop on their behalf and we actively encourage this.
To that end, we have lifted restrictions on a wide range of products and we have introduced a new Sainsbury’s Volunteer Shopping Card. This card enables friends and helpers to shop on behalf of someone else. Customers can visit our dedicated webpage (www.sainsburysgiftcard.co.uk) and select how much they would like to spend up to a limit of £250. The E-Gift card will then be emailed directly to the person shopping on their behalf, which can be redeemed at checkout in store.
The NHS’s Volunteer Responders Scheme also has volunteers on hand to collect shopping for people who need to stay at home. You can find more information about this here: www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.
- Priority shopping hours
For those who are able to go to shops, we are still dedicating between the hours of 8am and 9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to serving elderly, vulnerable, disabled customers and their carers.
SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES
In some instances, our stores are also accommodating local authorities and community organisations with bulk orders from which they can make and distribute food parcels to those in need. Our store managers will do their very best to support these orders, but they are subject to availability and must be collected from the store.
We are also helping local authorities load pre-paid gift cards, which they can allocate to volunteers. We encourage local authorities to visit www.sainsburysgiftcard.co.uk if they would like to order an E-Gift Card up to the value of £250 and pay by credit card – this will be sent directly to the volunteer. If there is a requirement for large quantities of E-Gift Card’s or Physical Gift Cards an order can be placed with our Sainsburys Business Direct team (www.sainsburysbusinessdirect.co.uk/order).
We are also supporting the free school meal vouchers scheme and have donated £3 million to Fareshare, which they will use to distribute donated food to the people who need it most.
In addition, we have extended our partnership with WHSmith to its stores in hospitals, supplying them with groceries to make it easier for NHS workers to get what they need when they need it. We continue to reserve half an hour from 7.30-8am, Monday to Saturday, in all of our supermarkets for NHS and social care workers.
To reduce queuing times both inside and outside our stores we have been extending our opening hours. From Monday, the majority of our supermarkets will be open from 08.00 – 22.00 and we are encouraging customers to visit our stores throughout the day to avoid queues when stores open in the morning.
SUPPORTING COMIC RELIEF AND CHILDREN IN NEED
We are proud of the work we have done with Comic Relief, raising £130 million over 21 years. Now we are partnering with Comic Relief to help support people across the UK who have been severely affected by coronavirus as part of the BBC’s Big Night In, which took place last week. The appeal, which brings together Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need, raises money for people of all ages and backgrounds across the UK.
We are supporting the appeal by matching customer donations in store and online to support the communities we serve.
I am delighted to inform you that together with our customers we have raised over £1.5 million in just two weeks, which matched by Sainsbury’s brings the total raised so far to £3,112,056. Customers can still donate until 1st May and we will continue to match whatever they donate.
SUPPORTING THE HOMELESS
In light of the coronavirus, The Big Issue, a magazine sold by the UK’s most vulnerable people to lift themselves out of poverty, recently had to take the decision to protect its network of vendors by asking that they stop selling on streets for the foreseeable future.
To support the magazine and its vendors, we have made The Big Issue available for sale online, in 229 Sainsbury’s supermarkets and at all Sainsbury’s convenience stores. We are delighted to share that 50% of net proceeds will go to vendors who need help and 50% will go towards helping The Big Issue continue its work with vendors now and in the future.