Calling Residents Particularly Vulnerable to COVID 19 for Health Reasons, Living in Cornwall

Posted on: 9th April 2020


Problems Accessing money from Post Office Card Accounts: Customers can arrange for a trustworthy friend or relative to collect cash from a Post Office branch on their behalf.  To arrange, call the Post Office Card Account helpline on 0345 722 3344, select option one and hold to speak to an advisor.  Customers will need to have their PO card when making the call to verify their identity and will need to provide details of their named nominated agent (trustworthy friend or relative).  A new card and pin number is then sent to the customer at their home address which can then be used by their nominated agent to access cash on their behalf at any Post Office branch.  The customer will receive separate statements showing the transactions undertaken using the nominated agent card.


Calling residents particularly vulnerable to COVID 19 due to current health reasons and who are living in Cornwall.

Together with NHS Kernow and Volunteer Cornwall, Cornwall Council are supporting communities across Cornwall to ensure residents who need help during the COVID-19 pandemic are getting assistance. In the St Just Parish, like some other communities, there is a Facebook Page – COVID-19 Mutual Aid St Just in Penwith Parish and residents should have received a note through their door giving the name and contact number of a nearby volunteer to help you. For St Just and Pendeen residents ONLY – ring me if you have not received this and are worried or need help.

Residents who are eligible for extra help could fall into different groups depending on whether they are shielded or not:

  1. Shielding after receiving a letter

Those who have received letters from the Government advising them they are considered to be at high risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus because they have an underlying disease or health condition and that they should self-isolate at home for at least 12 weeks and ask others for help with shopping and prescriptions. This ‘shielded’ category includes:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • People having treatments for some cancers
  • People who have long-term lung disease or severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis
  • People with conditions which make their blood and cells work differently and get infections easily
  • People taking immunosuppression medications which reduce the body’s response to fighting infections
  • Women who are pregnant and have heart disease

Everyone in the shielding group, which covers all ages from young to old, is being asked to follow stricter social distancing rules than most people and cannot leave their homes, even for essential shopping or exercise.

  1. Believe should be shielded but have not received a letter

Those who believe they should be in the shielded category (above) but have still not received a letter should think carefully about whether they go out and contact their GP.

In summary, those shielding needing help should register at or by calling 0800 0288327.

  1. Not in shielded categories but still needing help

Residents who have not received letters stating they are in the shielded group but may still have complex or medical needs or have other difficulties in getting shopping or medicines and need assistance – do contact your named volunteer or me if you need help.

IMPORTANT UPDATE INFO 16 APRIL (includes updates on stopping food parcel deliveries if you feel you do not need them or have special dietary requests to make) NB: For ‘we’ read ‘Cornwall Council’.

The Council has set up a multi-agency team from across council services, the NHS, the voluntary sector and food providers to co-ordinate support to individuals that require it. A call centre with dedicated shielding number (0300 1234 334  or is up and running with over 150 calls received to date (as of 12.04). A referral system is in place for food, medical and social support being offered and is as follows:

  • Food packages – The government is working with Brakes Wholesalers to send standard food packages directly to individuals. Since the Shielding programme begun over 2500 food parcels have been delivered.  In the initial stages, whilst the government deliveries have been getting set up the Council has been providing emergency packages to those who have got in contact with us through our Shielding support line.  For those with specific dietary requirements we have a referral route in place with Volunteer Cornwall to help purchase the food the individual needs. In addition to this, supermarkets are offering prioritised slots to vulnerable people. We are currently working with NHS colleagues to better understand how supermarkets are categorising ‘vulnerable’, whether this explicitly means the shielded cohort and what data sets they are using to help them prioritise.
  • Prescriptions and Medicine delivery – Prescription enquiries received by the contact centre are being referred to Volunteer Cornwall via or by calling 01872 266988 for support in collection and delivery. For specific medical and complex prescription enquiries referrals are being made to the following email address;
  • Social support – this is being provided by the Council through our work with Volunteer Cornwall.  We are working up a package of support e.g. library delivery service, befriending calls etc and will match with volunteers as appropriate.  We have so far redeployed 5 members of Council staff to Volunteer Cornwall to help manage the co-ordination of volunteers.

We are aware of a number of people who initially had support networks in place but have lost them as the virus spreads through Cornwall. In this instance, people are advised to return to the government website via ( or phone the government’s shielding phone number 0800 028 8327 and amend their status to ‘requiring support’. Some issues with this ‘re-registration’ process has been reported and we have fed this back to MHCLG.

The call centre has also received a number of calls from people who do not want a food package. In this event then the recipient is requested to either let the delivery driver know this the next time they get a delivery so it can be returned and the records amended, or to go back onto the online register ( or phone the government’s shielding phone number 0800 028 8327 to amend their records. However – be cautious as some have reported that cancelling free food delivery has also removed them from priority supermarket delivery lists. So, unless you can clearly cancel your free food parcel and keep other protections, DO NOT CANCEL.

We are continuing to conduct an extensive media campaign to advise people how to get help and this is aimed as those who are classified as “shielded” as well as the wider group of vulnerable people who are self-isolating.  The key message is to either get in touch with the Council (0300 1234 334  or or Volunteer Cornwall ( or 01872 266988) if help is needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) For Clinically Vulnerable, Shielded Residents

The questions and answers are here: