Shopping information for carers

Shopping information for carers

Most supermarkets are offering extra help for vulnerable groups, both in opening hours and access to on-line delivery slots.
If you need a letter from us to identify you as a carer, please call 0303 040 1234.

Shopping from home and in person

Some shops are setting aside special times for older and vulnerable customers, including carers, to shop; as well as giving priority for online shopping deliveries and other community support. 

In terms of identity, if you are over 70, your driving licence or similar should do. If you are a carer under 70, and registered with us, give us a call on 0303 040 1234 and we can issue a letter.

Stock of almost all goods has settled down now, so you may find it easier to shop at a quiet time, such as mid-afternoon or late in the day. Supermarkets are restricting the numbers of shoppers at any one time, so we can all keep a safe distance. Don’t forget, from 24th July, we will all need to wear a face covering in shops, with exceptions for medical reasons, and for small children.

Supermarkets are also extending online delivery slots and click-and-collect shopping. They are prioritising vulnerable shoppers for those deliveries (using the government’s lists and their own), and often for queuing. There are now far fewer restrictions on volume, making it easier to shop for someone else.

One option if someone is doing your shopping for you, is to get a giftcard or an e-giftcard for use in store or online, so they can use that to pay for your shopping. The limit for contactless payment with bank cards is being increased to £45, which helps keep us all safe. Remember to be careful if someone else is doing your shopping: Which has tips on ways to pay someone safely here. We have more information on what to avoid on our scam awareness page.

Many supermarkets have added food boxes to their range – a readymade selection of useful ingredients or meals, which can be ideal for delivery to a self-isolating relative.

We will keep this page updated to the best of our ability. Below is a list of the shops with their special opening times. And below, more information on on what each store says they’re doing, and further links.

  • Asda – see below for Asda’s new volunteer shopping card
  • Aldi – shops open 30 minutes early, Monday to Saturday
  • Iceland – the first hour of opening, every day
  • Lidl – check local stores
  • Marks & Spencer – Monday and Thursday, the first hour of opening.
  • Morrisons – See below for their new food boxes and details of their phone contact for the vulnerable
  • Sainsbury’s – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8am-9am
  • Tesco – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9am-10am (not Express stores)
  • Waitrose – first hour of opening, Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Asda say: We’re offering a new ‘volunteer shopping card‘ (bought online) so a friend or relative can more easily shop on your behalf. We recently increased the number of our delivery slots; should any of our customers be self-isolating, we would ask that they advise us of this in the ‘Other Information’ section when placing their order and tell us where they would like us to leave their order (e.g. on the doorstep, at the front gate etc.). Our food boxes bring a selection of cupboard fillers right to your door. We’ve extended our opening hours to reduce queuing times; check with your local branch.

Aldi say: We’ve extended our opening hours until 10pm Monday to Saturday. Our shelves are now well stocked throughout the day. Our stores are quieter in the afternoons and quietest after 7pm, so by extending our hours you have more time to shop safely. Normal Sunday opening hours remain in place. We now have a food parcel available to order, online only, delivered straight to your door usually next day. Aldi shopping vouchers come in £5 and £10 amounts.

Iceland say: If you can, we’re encouraging people to shop in store, leaving online orders for customers who are over state pension age, self-isolating and other vulnerable people, such as the disabled. We kindly ask that you use our Store Locator to find your local Iceland and complete your shop there. Stores are now well stocked throughout the day and there is no longer any particular advantage to customers in shopping first thing in the morning; they may well prefer to visit during the afternoon, when stores are usually quieter. Many branches offer home delivery; simply head to the till with your shopping and let a member of staff know that you’re interested in our free  home delivery service (shopping worth £25 or more). We’ll pack your shopping for you and deliver it at a time that suits you, including that same day. Our online shopping has free delivery over £35.

Lidl say: You’ll find stores are usually busiest 8-11am, average 11am-2pm and quieter after 2pm.

Marks and Spencer say: If you’re shopping on behalf of an older or vulnerable person, you can use the special slot if needed. However, we have put a number of measures in place to ensure the stores are now well-stocked throughout the day. M&S have also introduced new range of food boxes. We’ve partnered with Deliveroo to help give our customers access to essential groceries and some of their M&S favourites and treats. This new service is available across selected M&S stores (Guildford is one) and in over 100 BP M&S stores. We now have a new volunteer e-gift card.

Morrison’s say: We have a good availability of slots on our new Food Boxes. You can select from a variety of boxes from essentials to ready meals, with convenient delivery directly to your door, often next day. The range includes a gluten-free box and a vegan box, and you can order by phone if you don’t have internet access. We also offer our usual online shopping, including an ‘easy shop’ readymade list to fill your trolley in one click. Volunteer buying your groceries? Send them an eGift or gift card. If you use Deliveroo, Morrison’s new partnership means you can order from a range of 70 items, for delivery to your door (up to 2.5 miles from a store) in as little as 30 minutes. We’ve also expanded our Click & Collect service. With our new Doorstep Delivery service aimed at elderly, vulnerable and shielding customers (up to 10 miles from a store), you can order by phone (0345 611 6111) from a range of 46 essentials and pay by card on delivery, which is usually next day (order by 5pm). Find out more here.

Sainsbury’s say: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all our supermarkets will dedicate 8am – 9am to serving elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers. We are giving our customers who are vulnerable priority access to our online home delivery service.  We’re also increasing access to our Click & Collect service: customers can place their order online as usual and pick it up from a collection point in the store car park. We encourage you to visit our stores throughout the day to avoid queues when stores open in the morning. All our stores are now open 8am-8pm. Our new Volunteer Shopping Cards will make it easier for a helper to shop in store on your behalf.

Tesco say: We want to help everyone through these uncertain times, especially those who need extra help. So all our stores (except Express stores) will be prioritising the elderly and most vulnerable for one hour between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We’re prioritising our deliveries for the vulnerable; find out more here. Tesco are now expanding their lists to allow access for customers with disabilities in addition to those on the Government’s original list. To help you stay safe at home, you can now buy a Tesco Volunteer e-Gift Card and email it to whoever is doing your shopping.

Waitrose say: Waitrose stores still dedicate the first hour of opening on Monday, Wednesday and Friday as a priority shopping time for the elderly, the vulnerable and those who look after them. You’ll find many of our stores are quieter after 6pm, or in the last hour of opening. While we’re offering priority booking to our most vulnerable customers, new slots for home delivery and Click & Collect are opening up daily. We have launched a dedicated e-gift card for self-isolating customers who are unable to get to the shops themselves, and want to organise a simple, safe and contact-free payment for groceries delivered by friends, neighbours, family members or volunteers.

A number of established suppliers have expanded their deliveries and are accepting orders from new customers, including Wiltshire Farm Foods, who supply frozen ready-meals and are much used by older customers. They also have a priority service if you’re in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category, and orders can be placed online or by phone (0800 077 3100).

For isolated older shoppers, Age UK Surrey has a free emergency shopping service. Our partner Surrey carer charity, Crossroads also offer a shopping service. There are community groups all over Surrey who can help you: go to Surrey County Council’s website  or call their Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008 for more information. If you or the person you are caring for is listed as ‘extremely vulnerable’, you will be entitled to a Government food box up to 31st July; call the same Community Helpline number or find out how it works here.

Register with us

If you're a carer in Surrey, you can register with us for free to access lots of support and advice. We can also issue letters to carers during the coronavirus outbreak to identify them as carers to supermarkets.