A quarter of a million packages containing essential supplies have been delivered to people across Scotland facing the highest clinical risks from COVID-19.
The free boxes, which include vital food and toiletries, are dropped off weekly to the homes of people who are shielding.
More than 50,000 individuals have already signed up for the deliveries.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said:
“We understand that this is an extremely worrying time for people who are shielding and we want to do everything we can to support them throughout this challenging time.
“These packages along with the priority supermarket delivery slots help those at greatest risk from COVID-19 to shield and protect themselves from the virus.
“We are providing guidance on shielding from infection and information about the support available. We are offering this support to people who are shielding through a dedicated text message service. Those without mobile phones can still access this support by calling their local authority.”
Anyone who is at increased risk but not part of the shielded category and who has no family or community support should phone our national phone line on 0800 111 4000.
The SNP Government set up this service so those in this wider vulnerable group can also access help in getting essential goods.
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“It’s heartening to see that the network established to protect and assist the most vulnerable in our society is working.
“If you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and need support with shielding, please call North Ayrshire Council on 01294 310000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and your request will be passed on to the right people.
“They will be able to arrange for food and medicine deliveries if you need them, and signpost you to other support services.
“This is a very tough time for those who are able to go outside for exercise and fresh air, and I can barely imagine how difficult it is for people who are shielding. If we all keep staying home to save lives, the time will sooner come that those who are shielding will be safe to go out again too.”
More information about shielding can be found here.