Coronavirus: John Lewis & Waitrose launch £1m community fund & rationing

Coronavirus: John Lewis & Waitrose launch £1m community fund
The partnership is also enlisting the help of 2100 John Lewis staff to work in Waitrose stores.
// John Lewis Partnership launches £1m support fund for local communities amid coronavirus crisis
// Partnership also setting up a support fund to aid staff facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic
// Protected shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable also introduced, along with rationing

John Lewis Partnership has announced new measures to help its shops meet the needs of customers during the coronavirus crisis, with a focus on the elderly and the vulnerable.

These include a £1 million Community Support Fund to be distributed by Waitrose shops to local communities, and a support fund to aid staff facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic.

The partnership is also implementing protected shopping time for the elderly and the vulnerable across its Waitrose stores, rationing for all customers, and enlisting the help of 2100 John Lewis staff to work in Waitrose stores.


“At this time of national crisis, the John Lewis Partnership is wholeheartedly committed to ensuring we support customers and in particular the elderly and most vulnerable,” chair Dame Sharon White said.

“Our commitment to contribute to the wellbeing of the communities we operate in has always been at the heart of our business.

“Partners have been outstanding, supporting each other and responding to the huge surge in demand at Waitrose.

“More than 2100 John Lewis partners are helping in Waitrose shops this month and supporting deliveries; I am truly grateful to everyone.”

John Lewis Partnership’s new £1 million Community Support Fund will be available to communities across the UK to help those in need in their local communities.

Teams in each shop will work together with their communities to choose the best way to use the fund.

The partnership said help could include setting up additional local delivery services to support the self-isolating, the vulnerable, the elderly and their carers, or delivering boxes of staples to local care homes and community groups, and donating products to create care packages for customers to share with vulnerable neighbours.

In addition, to assist staff who are working long hours to meet the needs of customers, the partnership said it would set up a support fund to aid colleagues who are facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic – such as childcare costs.

Staff will also be offered free meals at work during the crisis.

Meanwhile, from tomorrow, the elderly, the vulnerable and those who look after them will be able to take advantage of a prioritised and dedicated shopping hour at Waitrose stores.

Partnership confirmed that the dedicated hour will be the first opening hour of the shop.

Waitrose is also working on a way to support its vulnerable customers who need food delivered to them via online shopping.

On the other hand, all Waitrose Cafes and rotisseries have been temporarily closed so as to free up extra hours for staff to keep shelves stocked with food and essential items.

Some Waitrose stores will also close early to give staff time to restock the shelves.

The upmarket grocer added that it would enforce a rationing system. In addition to existing limits on some online items, there will be a limit of three for any specific grocery item, and a maximum of two packets of toilet roll per customer buying in shops.

Over at John Lewis, the department store is exploring ways to offer its services remotely to customers in their homes, such as online courses or expert advice from staff.

This could include nursery advice for expectant parents, wellbeing advice, craft and cookery classes, or one-to-one calls.

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  1. It is very good news that Waitrose are going to have the first hour for the elderly. to do their shopping. I am 83 and my husband is 90 and I have been unable tog on the website to make an order as it is down and when i have come into my local Waitrose nearly all the shelves have been empty. the staff ink my local Waitrose are marvelous and very helpful.

  2. Both myself and my husband are in our 70’s with health problems and neither of us drive and I have just had a knee operation.. I have just tried to do an on-line shop but the first available delivery slot is 9th April.
    Would it not be possible for Waitrose to use local taxi firms for home deliveries? I would be happy to pay for the £5.00 taxi fare for a home delivery, if I could order on-line and have it delivered.

    • I’d like that too. I belong to the vulnerable group. How can my carer shop for me? What do the staff at Waitrose want to see as evidence? A copy of the PIP decision?

  3. How do charities like mine access the funds quickly so we can start providing immediate help to people? We can offer free childcare for key workers is we can secure the funding for it. We can also provide a free healthy lunch to children who would have been getting free school meals. But we need the funding now and I cant see any information on how to access it.

  4. Should staff not be being paid a premium? Whilst other can work from home they must still go into work and interact with the public, further risking their own and public health.
    Increase their wages – not just offer free meals.

    • Amidst the messages from the at risk and vulnerable, we get the selfless view. Always me, me, me. No chance of any help for others from this Waitrose member

  5. The only problem I have with deliveries is my normal shopping would not nearly reach the minimum I would need to spend. I WOULD BE ADDING TO HOARDING JUST TO REACH THE REQUIRED PRICE.

  6. What is the point in opening early for the elderly people are not taking any notice how can it be enforced the shops are still half empty.

  7. My husband and I, both in our eighties, would like a home delivery from you but we would struggle to put together an order for the minimum amount of £60. Please consider lowering this to say £40 or less in the current difficult circumstances.

  8. Hi,

    My wife has just started chemotherapy and we have been self isolating for a few weeks already – as obviously she has little or no immune system. How can we register for priority home deliveries as we can NOT visit the shop.

    We already have occasion home deliveries but when you can’t access the web page because it is fully booked – what do we do ?

    Richard & Diana.

  9. AGE 77 and living on my own. My weekly shop is usually around £30 to £40 – to qualify for on-line home delivery the minimum shop is £60. This means I would have to buy goods I neither wanted or needed – hardly ‘buy what you need’ Please Waitrose, reduce the minimum spend to perhaps £40 together with a reasonable service charge.

  10. what a great idea to get taxi drivers to deliver food to the vulnerable and elderly, I would use this method as both my husband and I are both self isolating, as we have underlying health issues and no family or friends nearby,

  11. I am 76 and live alone (5 min from Waitrose) and have some health problems .I have shopped in Waitrose Gloucester Rd since it opened and had deliveries in the past. Now they say that they are helping the elderly but how?? I cannot order online and my food supply is getting smaller.I have to self isolate! Very disappointed.

  12. Although I can drive a car I am 87 and and an asthmatic : can you not work out a system for giving some kind of priority to aged established customers who need to order on line to conform to with requests to self isolate ?


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