Help for you during Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Find help and support available during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Emergency help

If your situation is an emergency please dial 999. For other urgent situations you can contact us on 01609 780780.

We are working with community groups to put people in touch who need support with simple tasks such as getting food or collecting prescriptions during a period of self-isolation. However these are not emergency responses, much of the help will be given by volunteers who will try to respond as quickly as possible but it might take 2-3 days and many volunteers will not be available at weekends. So please try to plan ahead to help them help you.


Help from family, friends and neighbours

If you’re self-isolating you may need help with things like shopping or looking after pets. If you can, please contact family, friends or neighbours and let them know how they can help you. To avoid physical contact we suggest that you get in touch by phone or using email or other technology. This will help us to focus on the most vulnerable and protect people who don’t have anyone who can help them.

Find out more about how you can help.

How we can help if your family, friends and neighbours can’t

Contact us

If you don’t have anyone who can help you can contact us on 01609 780780 every day between 8am and 5:30pm and we will direct you to the right support.


We’re working closely with our borough and district council partners and have a network of community support organisations across the county that we can connect you with.

Help and support is available for you if you need it with a range of things such as:

  • shopping deliveries of food or other essentials
  • collecting and delivering prescriptions
  • caring for pets
  • help for you to get online and using thing like Skype to talk to friends and relatives
  • people to talk to via telephone or video on things like FaceTime or Skype that will avoid physical contact
  • delivering books and magazines or materials to support hobbies such as wool for knitting or art materials

Shopping and money

We are also working with supermarkets to help key workers and food banks as well as setting up arrangements for bulk-buying by people who are shopping for others in their area who can’t get to the supermarket. 

If you don’t have money to pay for food, either because you don’t have enough or can’t access the money you have you can access emergency help. Please call us on 01609 780780.

You can find  information on how to safely pay volunteers or other suppliers here (pdf / 612 KB).

View the UK Finance guide to making payments safely in lockdown.

Age UK have put together some information about when and where people who are over 70 years old can get essential shopping.

Local food suppliers

Find details of food retailers, and other non-food businesses, products and services, in your local area who are working within the Covid-19 restrictions on Buy local.

Help reduce food waste

You can help by:

  • Buying only what you need and making your food go further.
  • Keeping shopping trips to a minimum.
  • Using up fresh food first to reduce food waste and freezing what you won’t use before it spoils. If you can’t get fresh vegetables and other foods most supermarkets stock tinned or frozen varieties of common foods.
  • Reducing the amount of food wasted by visiting Love Food Hate Waste to get recipe ideas to make meals go further and storage tips to keep food for longer.

Help for people who are “shielded”

People with underlying health conditions need to take even more precautions to protect themselves from the coronavirus and stay at home until the end of June, this is known as being shielded.

If you are in this category the NHS will have sent you a letter or a text message to give you information about accessing support. You need to register with them that you need this support and instructions on how to do this will be included in the letter.

As part of the shielding scheme, parcels of food and other essential items will be delivered directly to your doorstep from a national distribution centre.

Those most at risk include:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • Some people with cancer who are undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • People on immunosuppression drugs
  • Women who are pregnant and have heart disease
  • People with severe respiratory conditions - cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and COPD
  • Some people with rare diseases such as severe combined immunodeficiency

If you believe you are in this category but have not yet received a letter from the NHS or been contacted by your doctor to confirm it please get in touch with your GP or hospital doctor by phone or online.

I am shielded and I don’t have access to essential food supplies, how do I get help?

Please complete this form. There are a number of questions about your wellbeing including “do you have access to essential supplies”. If your response is “NO” your details are then passed to a food distribution network and you will receive a food parcel in due course.

Do I need to fill in the form each week?

No – once you are registered you will receive a parcel on an ongoing basis until you advise you no longer need it.

How long from registration until first delivery?

The food industry will organise for free food parcel deliveries to your front door which should arrive within one week of you requesting it. Parcels may be delivered any time between 6am and 10pm.

How do I stop receiving food parcels?

To stop receiving food parcels you will need to complete the form again, changing your answer to the question, “do you have access to essential supplies” to ‘YES’.

Alternatively, you can let your delivery person know that you no longer need a food parcel when you next have a delivery.

I am not shielded, but need food supplies

We will help people in North Yorkshire to access food during the COVID pandemic. If you are unable to buy food and don’t have the support of family, friends or neighbours, you can contact our customer service centre on: 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

Or, if you can safely do your own food shopping or can ask friends and neighbours to help, you can find links to national supermarket special arrangements on this page.

You can also go to Buy Local where you can find details of shops, pubs, restaurants and catering businesses in your area or shops who are offering deliveries, and takeaways.

I am not shielded but I think I need to be.

If you want to be considered shielded, so that you can access the food distribution network, you need to contact your GP and ask to be classed as shielded and fill in this form. There is currently around a 10-day period before the information moves through the process to food distribution and ourselves.

I’m shielded and should get priority slots with supermarkets but I can’t get one.  Can you help?

Unfortunately, we are unable to assist with this issue at the moment.

We would advise you to ensure you are using the same e-mail address you used to register yourself on the shielded list.  If you have received a letter but have not registered yourself, you will need to do that to be logged as a priority customer with the supermarkets.

I’m receiving food when I shouldn’t/haven’t asked or not receiving food when I should

The food distribution network was setup very quickly in order to support the community during the COVID -19 pandemic. As a result of this there were some slight issues, however, we have been assured these issues have now largely been resolved. If you are still receiving these food parcels when not needed, please complete this form.

You can also let your delivery person know that you no longer need a food parcel when you next have a delivery.

Is there any provision for dietary requirements?

The parcel will contain a box of household essentials – food and basic supplies. As far as possible, this is a package that is universally suitable, but it cannot cater to all special dietary or religious requirements.  The parcel includes a note urging recipients to check the ingredients.

If you don’t have enough food to meet your needs, we can support you to access food through community groups, please call the customer service centre on: 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

Please note that there is a charge for any additional food. Arrangements are in place with community groups to enable you to safely pay for any additional food and support is also available for people experiencing financial hardship.

I have received my parcel but it was left on the doorstep and it was too heavy for me to lift into the house. Can the driver bring it into the house for me?

To maintain the appropriate social distancing the driver cannot enter your home.

If the parcel is too heavy to lift, we would suggest that you open it on the door step and transfer items into a bag to move into the house. It may take a number of trips until you empty the parcel.

Mental health support

It’s more important than ever to look after your mental health during these times. You can find a range of help support on our look after your mental health pages.

Support is also available from volunteers in the community support organisations who can put you in touch with people to talk to if you just want a friendly chat.

Read guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Support for victims of domestic abuse

Along with our partners, we commission the Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) to provide help and support. IDAS are extending their live chat service to provide additional support to people who are afraid of their partner or a family member. An additional chat service for professionals, agencies and our partners has also opened.

You can find more information on our domestic abuse page

Help for carers

Working with our carers centres we’ve pulled together a list of 10 sources of helpful information and advice for unpaid carers.

View further information and guidance for carers.

Accessible and easy read information

Along with our partners we've pulled together a range of accessible and easy read versions of information about coronavirus.