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Help with food during COVID-19

UPDATED 22 JUNE 2020   

Some people will need help getting food during COVID-19, this could be for a number of reasons, anyone in need can visit the Advice NI website here, phone the COVID-19 freephone community helpline on 0808 802 0020, email: or text: ACTION to 81025 to discuss your needs.  

From 26 June only those who are shielding will be eligible for a foodbox from their local council, they will continue to receive this support if needed until 31 July.  

The level of help given will depend on your circumstances: 

  • If you need help with your shopping, but you already have someone to help you (e.g. family, friends, neighbours) then you should continue to get this help.
  • If you don't have anyone to help you with your shopping and you can afford food, then you should get deliveries from local shops or supermarkets.  If you are shielded you can register for access to a priority online delivery slot from Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco or Iceland.  Click here to register.   There may also be volunteers in local community groups that will pick up your shopping.  Advice NI can help you find a local community group.  
  • If you can leave the house, but you can't afford food visit Advice NI  or phone, email or text the helpline and they will advise you were you can get local help e.g. a referral to a foodbank.
  • If you are shielded, don't have help and can't afford food, you will be eligible for a food box or other food support.  From 26 June only those who are shielding will be eligible for a foodbox, you will continue to receive this support if needed until 31 July.  

Food boxes are being distributed by councils through Council Coordination Hubs. If you call the COVID freephone community helpline on 0808 802 0020 or visit the Advice NI website here, you will be referred to your local Health and Social Care Trust.    If eligible, they will arrange for you to receive a food parcel from either your local Council Coordination Hub, a local community organisation or the Red Cross.   If you or a family member is vulnerable, there is more advice on NI Direct here

There are a limited supply of food boxes to help the most vulnerable, If you receive one and you don’t need it, please tell the organisation who supplied it to you.

Other ways to access food

Spar/Eurospar/Vivo Home delivery

  • Phone your local Spar, Eurospar or Vivo and ask for their delivery service
  • The store staff will do your shop with you over the phone
  • Many let you pay by card over the phone for your shopping and for the cost of a taxi to deliver it to your home. Some may do this free of charge.
  • Your items will be delivered to you by taxi as soon as possible

Other independent retailers

Whoisdeliveringni is a Facebook group (run by members of the community) which allows users to share information on businesses in Northern Ireland delivering fresh food, groceries and pre-made meals - This is an unofficial community group so content, accuracy and reliability cannot always be guaranteed.

Foodbanks and other community support:

The Consumer Council and Community NI will have information on foodbanks and other community support near you

Help with anything else

Advice NI offer support for those who need help with medicine deliveryfuel and social contact. Call 0808 802 0020 or visit the Advice NI website here.  If you need any help for any other reason, go to Covid Wellbeing NI  or Helplines NI


This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.