Food Package Information for those in Scotland

27 April 2020

Genetic Alliance UK asked Scottish Government whether it was possible for those receiving free grocery packs in Scotland to register their dietary needs. 

Scottish Government have responded:

With regard to the delivery of food packages and essentials, if people buy online, or have someone who’s able to get the food and household items they need, they should carry on getting things in this way.

If they’re not able to get these things, we can send free grocery packs and these can be accessed through two different routes, either through receiving a formal shielding advice letter because their underlying health condition puts them at the highest clinical risk of severe illness due to Covid-19.  The letter these people receive will include advice on how to access support for food and medication.   They can join the SMS Shielding Service, and is asked to send a text from their mobile phone to 0786 006 4525. The text should only include the CHI number and the number cannot receive calls – texts only.

The other route is through a new national helpline that we have set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support.

The service offers help to those who do not have family or existing community support and cannot get online and who are over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons. This service is in addition to localised support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield themselves. However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance, who do not have family and cannot get online can access support via this new helpline.

The helpline – 0800 111 4000 – will initially operate during business hours while plans are developed and implemented to extend it to operate for a longer period each day.

Callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:

  • essential food and medication
  • links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
  • emotional support
  • contact with local volunteer groups

If people can get online they should contact their local authority directly, details can be found on this page of ‘Contacts to arrange shielding support’.

These free grocery packs being provided include enough basic food and household items to last a week. At the moment, everyone will get the same grocery pack, so it might not meet personal dietary and religious needs currently.  However, over the coming weeks, we’ll try to offer packs to better meet dietary and religious needs. People will receive an update on this as soon as we can give one.

We’re also working with supermarkets to prioritise home delivery slots from local supermarkets for online orders, reserved only for people who are shielding and understand that this is a difficult time for many people.”