Coronavirus: request for priority deliveries for elderly NI

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Geraldine Herdman-Grant and husband James Pratt

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GERALDINE HERDMAN-GRANT

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Geraldine Herdman-Grant and husband James Pratt got up overnight to try to secure a delivery window


Seniors who self-isolate expressed frustration at not being able to get grocery deliveries from the supermarket.

Certain online delivery slots are reserved up to three weeks in advance.

In England, single people can sign up for a government website to get priority delivery, but it’s not available in Northern Ireland.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said that Northern Ireland was more “complex”.

The Ministry of Communities has announced that it will provide food packages to those who need it most.

Speaking at Good Morning Ulster, Hargey said her department and the Department of Health are trying to liaise with retailers.

She said that Northern Ireland relies on multiple databases compared to England where relevant information is stored on a single database.

“We are working with retailers and asking them to respond to an urgent need,” she said.

“It’s more difficult and it will take a little longer to create a system that local supermarkets can benefit from. “

“Incredibly stressful”

Geraldine Herdman-Grant and her husband, Jack, live just outside of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. They struggled to get a regular delivery window.

Jack, 76, has severe lung disease, which puts him in the high risk band, and received a letter from the government telling him that he needs to be isolated for 12 weeks.

  • The struggle to identify vulnerable buyers

The couple have no family nearby and are struggling to get regular delivery to one of their local supermarkets.

Their last delivery was on March 17 and they are scheduled to receive one later this week.

“It’s incredibly stressful,” said Herdman-Grant.

“I wake up at 2:30 a.m., because the slots are generally put into service between that date and 4:00 a.m., to try to get a delivery for a few weeks. “

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VICTOR RUSSELL

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Victor Russell was asked to sign up for priority shopping online, but later found that it didn’t apply to Northern Ireland


Victor Russell is in a similar position. He received a letter from the government advising him not to leave the house for his own health.

“I have a friend in Devon who now has a weekly delivery window with Sainsbury’s because he was able to sign up,” he said.

“I called Tesco to try to get one and they told me to register on the website, but when you try to do it, it doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland. “

Both Herdman-Grant and Russell wrote to their local MPs asking them to introduce a system similar to that of England.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey announced Sunday that 10,000 food parcels will be delivered to those most in need later this week.

“I think it’s wonderful for those who need it,” said Herdman-Grant.

“I have always been very independent and we would be okay if we could just get a regular delivery window.

“The system exists in England, so I don’t see why they can’t present it here. “

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Tesco said those who don’t need home delivery should come to the store to free up slots for those who need it most


A Tesco spokesperson said the company “is doing everything in its power to increase the capacity of our online operations so that everyone can access the food they need.”

“We ask customers who can afford to shop in store so that we can prioritize those who need to stay at home.”

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said that elderly and vulnerable people in Northern Ireland should call to get a priority slot.

“We are prioritizing as many orders as possible from elderly and vulnerable customers and are experiencing extremely high demand for this service,” said the spokesperson.

“We give thousands of additional slots every day to customers over the phone and urge anyone who believes they are eligible to continue trying.” “

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