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Charity says people are ‘stepping up’ for the elderly after initial panic-buying craze

PUBLISHED: 05:29 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:41 16 May 2020

How difficult has it been for the elderly and vulnerable to get food shopping in Suffolk?   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

How difficult has it been for the elderly and vulnerable to get food shopping in Suffolk? Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A leading Suffolk charity says families and friends are “stepping up” for their elderly and vulnerable loved-ones after panic-buying made delivery slots impossible to secure.

Jo Reeder from Age UK Suffolk, says it the virus has shown what matters to people. Picture: AGE UK SUFFOLKJo Reeder from Age UK Suffolk, says it the virus has shown what matters to people. Picture: AGE UK SUFFOLK

Families have been battling to get delivery slots over the last few weeks, with supermarkets ramping up the numbers of delivery slots available and now giving preferential treatment to the old and vulnerable.

Age UK Suffolk, which has helped hundreds of vulnerable people get food on their plates, says families, friends and neighbours are showing great support for those in need.

“I think people are really stepping up to help,” explained Jo Reeder, who is head of fundraising and marketing at the charity.

“People definitely panicked to start with, but that panic has dissipated and it is becoming much easier for people, with more support available as time goes on.”

When the virus hit the country back in March, Age UK Suffolk set up an emergency shopping service to make sure that everyone was looked after and able to get the food they need.

Ms Reeder said: “We will make sure that no one goes hungry, as it is a basic human right to at least have a meal.

“This virus has really shown what is important to people and what worries them, and that is not being able to get the basic provisions they need.”

However, Ms Reeder explained that there are multiple hurdles the elderly face before even managing to get onto supermarket websites to try and receive a delivery slot.

She said: “Not a lot of the elderly generation have access to the internet and some are also not great on the phone because of their hearing.

“These are two hurdles they have to face before even getting on to try and get a delivery slot.”

Ms Reeder says that supermarkets have been doing a great job in increasing the numbers of doorstep deliveries available, and by making those who have to self-isolate for the 12 week period a priority.

More family members, friends and neighbours are stepping up for one another, explained Ms Reeder.

“One person might do an online shop, but within that they will be getting food for 2/3 families who are isolating,” she said.

Age UK has started seeing fewer referrals and is confident people are being looked after in Suffolk.


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