Practical Support

During these unprecedented times, many aspects of our day to day lives have been impacted. We’re bringing you practical information on how to cope during this crisis.

Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank are all offering companion cards to vulnerable customers. Companion cards are given to a trusted person of the vulnerable individual, which the trusted person can use to do shopping for them. The card can be topped up by £100 every 5 days and £50 worth of cash can be withdrawn from ATMs. The card is also linked to the trusted person’s bank account for security reasons. Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank are also offering free cash delivery services for all vulnerable individuals. To order a companion card or delivery of cash, please phone one of the following numbers.

NatWest’s dedicated vulnerable customer line: 0800 051 4176

Royal Bank of Scotland’s dedicated vulnerable customer line: 0800 051 4177

Ulster Bank’s dedicated vulnerable customer line: 0800 092 4238

Relay UK: 18001 03457 242424

Financial Support
The government and several other organisations are offering financial support at this difficult time. For financial advice, please see the here.

Food Shopping
If you have a shielding letter, you are entitled to priority access to food deliveries from supermarkets. All supermarkets should have access to lists confirming those on the “extremely vulnerable” list and will allow these customers to book priority delivery slots. For more information on booking a priority delivery slot, please see here.

If someone can do shopping for you, you can order a volunteer shopping card for that trusted individual from certain supermarkets. Volunteer shopping cards are cards which are topped up with money by you online, which the trusted volunteer can use to pay for your shopping in store. To see what support supermarkets, other food establishments and organisations such as your local council are offering to help people access food, please see here.

If you have specific dietary requirements and need to check food labelling to ensure that the food adheres to your diet, you are still allowed to do so in store, despite reports of a no-touch policy of foods that you don’t intend to buy. To make shopping easier, you can also check food labelling online at many supermarkets before you shop.

Many parents are having to adapt to being a teacher as well as a parent and carer to their child. For tips on homeschooling and additional resources to support homeschooling, please see here.

Medical Appointments
Most GP and hospital appointments are now being conducted via phone or video. For immediate medical support, you can call NHS 111 as well. If your case is urgent, A & E is still open and you are still advised to attend if you need. For further advice on attending hospital with an IMD, please see here.

You can buy stamps and labels for parcels online after which you only need to drop your parcel or letter off. You can buy stamps and parcel labels here.

For those who are shielding, you will be able to nominate someone to pick up your prescription for you or your pharmacy can nominate a volunteer to deliver your prescription to you if someone else cannot do it for you. You can recruit a volunteer to deliver your prescription by calling your local pharmacy who can organise this for you. Your local council may also be able to help with delivering your medicines to you. To see if this support is offered by your local council, please visit their website. For medical equipment from hospitals, you must contact your hospital’s medical team to see how they can deliver your supplies to you.

Most high-street retailers are still operating online and offering delivery. However, expected delivery times from many retailers has been extended and some retailers haven’t moved their business online.


During these challenging times, access to support services is more important than ever. You can see the support services offering advice and help for a wide variety of situations here. You can also reach our helpline for support on 0845 241 2173 or


If you are an unpaid carer or an essential worker, you have priority access to testing for coronavirus. You can apply to be tested here.

If you need any other advice or support, please contact us on or 0845 241 2173.