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Help available for shielded residents as guidance changes

As guidance and support for shielded residents change from next week, Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and NHS Kernow are reminding anyone needing assistance with food shopping, medical prescriptions and social support, that help is on hand.

Letters explaining the new advice are being sent out to everyone who has been asked to self-isolate for the last 12 weeks due to having a health condition which makes them clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

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The Government is relaxing its shielding guidance in stages as it points to latest scientific evidence showing the declining infection rate of the virus.

Subject to ongoing clinical evidence, the changes will be:

From Monday 6 July:

  • Anyone shielding can meet up to five people from other households outdoors while social distancing.
  • Those shielding who live alone or are a single parent or carer with a child under 18 can start to form a support bubble with one other household including visiting their home and staying overnight.  

From Saturday 1 August: 

  • Shielded individuals can stop self-isolating as guidance will be updated to allow them to go to shops and places of worship while following social distancing rules.  
  • Food parcels sent by Government to those shielding will stop on 1 August as individuals are advised they can visit shops and pharmacies.  
  • However, other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots, help from Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and the NHS Volunteers Scheme – will continue.  
  • Those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace is COVID secure, adhering to the guidance available.

Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and NHS Kernow will continue to support shielded and other vulnerable residents if they need help with food shopping or collections, getting priority supermarket delivery slots, prescriptions, befriending and getting online for assistance.  

Anyone who is shielding and needs to set up priority supermarket deliveries for when the Government’s food parcel programme ends on August 1 should go to or call 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline, by July 17.

Cornwall Council is offering help to anyone who needs assistance with registering for priority supermarket deliveries. Contact the Council’s shielding line on 0300 1233334 for support.

Volunteer Cornwall is continuing to help with collecting and delivering shopping and prescriptions, providing befriending support as well as volunteers helping with other low level needs.  

It is running a ‘Walking Buddies’ programme to support vulnerable residents by providing socially distanced company to help build confidence and allow for social interaction.

If you would like a walking buddy or are interested in volunteering to become one, please call Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email

Dr Iain Chorlton, GP and NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: “As the social distancing rules for shielded patients change, from 1 August you can now collect their prescriptions from your GP practice or local pharmacy as you would have done before COVID-19. If you need to continue to have them delivered can you please talk to your usual pharmacy or dispensary.”

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s cabinet member for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: "After three months of staying at home, those who have been shielding will soon be able to go out more and see their friends and family while social distancing. While this may be a happy time for many, for others it will lead to feelings of extreme anxiety.

“Together with NHS Kernow and Volunteer Cornwall we are continuing our support for anyone who is stopping shielding in the coming weeks. Do get in touch with us if you need help with food shopping, prescriptions or if you are feeling anxious, and we will endeavour to help.”

Ian Jones, Chief Executive of Volunteer Cornwall, said: “Volunteer Cornwall’s team of volunteers are seeing considerable concern about the easing of the lockdown. We will be helping people get back out in their community but we still have thousands of Cornwall’s wonderful volunteers who are willing to help where there is a need. Together the institutions and communities of Cornwall can ensure those most in need continue to get the support they require.’

If anyone needs extra support contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 334 or email or contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email

More information on the planned changes are here:


Story posted July 3, 2020