COVID-19: Community Help Network



There is a host of services and organisations available to help with things like shopping, collecting medicine, as well as befriending should you be experiencing loneliness.  Details about some of the help and support for shielding or vulnerable residents is below. 

There is also a wider list of community support services for residents. If you need help accessing these services, please call our Customer Resolution Centre on 020 8496 3000. The helpline is open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm.


The national shielding programme and the Council shielding team have been paused. There still remain several ways that residents who are 70+, or vulnerable but don’t have access to community support, can get assistance to access to food, prescriptions and safe social contact.

Accessing food

There are a number of services available for older or vulnerable residents to access food.

Morrisons doorstep delivery

We have collaborated with Morrisons to help ensure that older or vulnerable residents can order food for delivery to their door.

This is a paid for service available for those aged 70+ or vulnerable.

Morrisons aim to process orders within 24 hours and you can select from a list of fresh goods, as well as household essentials.

Payment is taken by card only when the food is delivered. This means that you do not have to set up an online account.

You can place a food order directly with Morrisons by phoning 0345 611 6111 and selecting option 5.

There is also a food box service available. You can select from a range of options including vegetarian and gluten free, but you will need to set up an online account. Morrisons currently have delivery slots available for this service within a few days. Visit the Morrisons website.  

Do you need help to access an online supermarket account?

If you are clinically vulnerable due to Covid-19 or have been requested to stay at home because you have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus symptoms (part of the Keep Waltham Forest Safe campaign) you can request help through this scheme.

The scheme has been set up by the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the participating supermarkets are Tesco and Iceland.

In order to use this scheme you need to be able to do your shopping on the supermarket’s website and pay for your food directly.

If you would like to request an online account with Tesco or Iceland, please complete the help to access an online supermarket account form and one of our Customer Service Agents will contact you to check your eligibility and request an account for you.

NHS Volunteer Responders

The NHS Volunteer Responder service connects vulnerable residents with volunteers nearby who can help with shopping as well as friendly ‘check-in’ chats on the phone. To ask for help, call 0808 196 3646. 

The NHS Volunteer Responder service is managed by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) the volunteers are recruited and managed through RVS.   When you call and make a request, the call centre will check you are eligible and then contact a volunteer in your area who is available to help.  There is no need to ‘book’ this in advance, you should make the request on the day you need the help. 

Shopping Service from Age UK Waltham Forest

In addition to the befriending support they are currently offering, Age UK Waltham Forest are offering a food shopping service for residents aged 60+ who are in isolation and unable to rely on family, trusted friends or neighbours for adequate support.

Call 0206 558 5512 or where they will

  • Assess your eligibility
  • Prioritising residents most in need
  • Help you with your shopping list
  • Order and deliver a maximum of 15 food items to your door.

Social distancing will be maintained at all times. Money will not be physically exchanged, but Age UK will call you to pay over the phone. If you cannot pay by card over the phone or bank transfer, they will try to make alternative arrangements. 

Accessing local food banks

We recognise that some residents may be struggling to pay for food. If this is the case there are several foodbanks operating in the borough.

The council is continuing to support foodbanks with food supplies. Residents may also benefit from visiting our dedicated financial assistance for residents page.

Prescription collection

If you need help collecting your regular prescription, start by asking your pharmacist if they can deliver.  Their phone number is normally on the label of your medicine package. 

If this isn’t possible and you meet one of the following criteria you can contact the NHS Volunteer Responder service by calling 0808 196 3646 

  • 70+
  • Shielding for medical reasons, have Covid-19 or are isolating because you have been in contact with someone who has
  • Have another health condition or disability that makes it difficulty to go to the pharmacy

The NHS volunteer responder service is managed by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) the volunteers are recruited and managed through RVS.   When you call and make a request, the call centre will check you are eligible and then contact a volunteer in your area who is available to help.  There is no need to ‘book’ this in advance, you should make the request on the day you need the help. 

Telephone befriending

We know that lockdown restrictions aren’t easy. If you are aged 50+ and feeling lonely, check out Age UK Waltham Forest’s website for befriending support. For details on the other support that’s available, see our Community Support Services page. We also have a dedicated webpage which outlines various support and ways you can look after your mental health and wellbeing.

Local voluntary and charity organisations have played a vital role in helping residents and responding to COVID-19. The Connecting Communities team is available to assist registered charity and voluntary organisations by sharing information, resources and expertise, and by helping to co-ordinate and link groups together.

Here is a summary of some of the ways we can help you:

  • Helping you through all aspects of the grant and fund bidding process: We can help you to find out what grant opportunities are applicable to your organisation, can assist you through all stages of the application process or review an application you are currently working on.
  • Working together to support residents: If you are providing support to residents around the delivery of food parcels, prescriptions or befriending, we would love to hear from you and discuss how you can work with existing providers across the borough who are delivering similar services. This way we can share valuable intelligence and foster greater collaboration between groups.
  • Utilising our volunteer base: We have a pool of around 4000 volunteers, many of whom have signed up to help the community response to COVID-19. If your organisation could benefit from more volunteers, or volunteers with specific skills and capabilities please get in touch

We will be providing further updates as the programme evolves in the coming weeks. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if there are specific challenges that you are facing at this time that we might be able to help with.

For all queries please email the Connecting Communities team.

For continued updates, sign up to our VCS newsletter

Details of other organisations that may provide additional support, advice on claiming benefits for families, urgent repairs and online social groups within the community.

Help for Families

Call the Children and Family Centre line on 0208 509 6444, leave a voicemail, they will call you back.

Call the families advice line 0300 330 1175 calls charged at local rate open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Special Educational Needs & Disability Information Advice & Support Service

Families and young people to call 020 3233 0251 open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm or email or book a callback.

Universal Credit claims

Call the Help to Claim Line (calls are free) on 0800 144 8 444 open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm or webchat for universal credit

Direct Payment Support Service call 020 3233 0279 open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Urgent home repairs 

If you have an urgent home repair book on Service Store, a paid service.

Supermarket priority hours 

Most of the leading supermarkets are offering specific shopping hours for vulnerable people and key workers, information on Money Saving Expert website.

Waltham Forest Citizens Advice

Offering advice on a range of issues including money, benefits, housing and employment.

Advice line: 0300 330 1175 (phone line is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Calls may be charged at your local rate.)

Waltham Forest Citizens Advice

Local foodbanks

Support for artists and creators

If you are an arts organisation, business or individual working in the cultural sector, creative industries or night-time economy in London, please visit the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk page to register your details for support, guidance and resources. 

Register with the culture at risk office

Share your stories Click to get info

We’d like to celebrate the stories of community kindness happening across the borough, as well as hear about what you are doing while self-isolating If you have a story to share please send it to