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Food and prescriptions help for clinically vulnerable residents

Vulnerable residents who are unable to leave their homes for medical reasons are being urged to ensure their details are correctly registered with the Government and to contact Cornwall Council and Volunteer Cornwall if they need help getting food supplies, prescriptions or social support during the lockdown.

The ‘shielded’ group are individuals who have been identified by the NHS as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable because of their risk of getting seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.

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There are a number of specific health conditions that meet this criteria, which can be found in the Government’s guidance.

Most of these individuals will have been identified from a national database and will have been sent a letter by Government. Cornwall’s GP practices, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Derriford and other specialist hospitals looking after Cornwall residents have also reviewed their own patient lists to identify whether there are other people who meet the shielding criteria but have not received a national letter yet.

Anyone who believes they should be on this list but still has not received a letter is asked to contact their GP or clinicians as soon as possible as they are the only ones able to add people to the shielding list. 

The shielding letter sent from Government gives clear instructions on how to request support if residents need it.

All those receiving the letter should register by going to or by calling 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline, to confirm receipt of the shielding letter and discuss any help needed.

So far there are 1,705 people in Cornwall who have registered and requested support.

The Council has set up a multi-agency team from across council services, NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, the voluntary sector and food providers to co-ordinate food, medical and social support to shielded individuals in need.

A call centre with dedicated number 0300 1231118 or is up and running with more than 150 calls received to date.

Since the Shielding programme began last month over 2,500 food parcels have been delivered to vulnerable residents. 

Most of these standard food packages have been sent directly to individuals by the Government working with Brakes Wholesalers, but the Council and Volunteer Cornwall provided 234 emergency packages to those who contacted its Shielding support line at the start of the programme when Government deliveries were being set up.

The Council is providing emergency food parcel delivery for shielded residents who are in urgent need of support or yet to receive their weekly food parcels from the Government.

The authority is also helping those with specific dietary requirements, either through vegetarian food parcels or through referrals to Volunteer Cornwall whose volunteers can help buy food to meet individual needs.

Anyone who is shielded and requested the Government’s weekly food parcels but are not receiving them should check their details are registered correctly at and update their requirements. Anyone who is has an urgent need of support should contact the Council on 0300 1234 334 or by emailing

If residents need to update their address or their circumstances change, for example if they need additional support or if they do not need food parcels anymore, individuals should update their details on the Government website. Changes to details may take up to a week to be activated.

For residents who are not shielded but may still have difficulties getting food shopping, please contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email

Volunteer Cornwall has over 3,000 volunteers in place to provide people with the support they need. It is collaborating with the newly developed NHS Volunteers to further strengthen its support network.


Story posted on 17 April, 2020