Tesco is one of the chains that have signed up to the new scheme.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, has welcomed the news that local people who are shielding due to health issues will be able to sign up for priority supermarket delivery slots available through the NI Direct website.
Four of the main supermarket chains in N. Ireland have agreed with the Department for Communities to prioritise delivery slots for people who cannot get out to access food after receiving shielding letters from their GP asking them to isolate at home.
The supermarkets involved are Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Iceland.
Those eligible should sign up online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/register-priority-online-food-delivery
The Department will check eligibility and share details with the supermarkets who will contact customers directly to advise when delivery slots are available.
Mayor Boyle said the scheme would help alleviate pressures on Councils and Community groups delivering emergency food aid on the ground, and urged anyone eligible to sign up.
“I am delighted to see the major supermarkets supporting the Department and local Communities in their efforts to supply emergency food aid to those who are most at risk from Covid-19. There are people who are unable leave their homes at all and who may not have family or friends to help with shopping. They are reliant on online services and this will greatly assist them to maintain shielding and protect themselves at this time of risk.
“The Department have been offering aid through their emergency Food Box scheme but this service is under increasing pressure, and these priority delivery slots will help alleviate some of that pressure. Some people who have signed up to the Food Box Scheme due to lack of availability of supermarket delivery slots may find their needs are now met through this scheme, freeing up food box availability for others.
“I would really encourage anyone who is eligible – namely those who are shielding at home on the instruction of their GP, who don’t have other means of obtaining food – to submit their details.”
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