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Isolated blind and partially sighted shoppers can now access priority delivery slots

The change comes after the RNIB revealed that one in five people living with sight loss were rationing food because of difficulties shopping

shopping reciept
Pixabay/Steve Buissinne
Blind and partially sighted people without social support can now access priority supermarket deliveries after a joint campaign that generated a petition with 22,000 signatures.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Guide Dogs, Thomas Pocklington Trust and Visionary highlighted that amid the COVID-19 crisis blind and partially sighted people have faced significant challenges in safely accessing supermarkets.

Altered supermarket layouts, social distancing and limitations on online delivery slots meant that it was difficult for those with sight loss to shop without support.

The RNIB highlighted that only half of blind and partially people who shopped independently before COVID-19 were doing so after lockdown, while one in five were being forced to ration food.

As a result of the joint campaign, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has secured online shopping slots, aimed at people who cannot safely leave their home and do not have a social network to support them, from a number of major supermarkets.

RNIB’s director of services, David Clarke, shared that the charity’s helpline received thousands of calls from people who are worried about access to food and have had to rely on the goodwill of strangers.

“These new slots represent a first step in what, for many blind and partially sighted people, will be a long road to regaining their full independence, enabling them to buy what they want, when they want, without support from others,” Mr Clarke said.

The priority slots are now available by referral through the RNIB’s helpline.