Asda has launched a 'volunteer shopping card' to help those who are self-isolating due to the coronavirus.

The new initiative comes after the UK Government identified over a million people in England and further afield as particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, due to certain medical conditions, and issued advice for them to self-isolate for 12 weeks.

Since then, thousands of people across the country have signed up to become volunteers in their community, in order to help those who are unable to fulfil essential tasks, such as shopping.

  • How do the volunteer cards help?

Asda’s volunteer card comes in the form of an e-gift card, with a barcode that can be scanned for payments. It can be downloaded and presented on a phone screen, or be printed on A4 paper and scanned by a member of checkout staff.

This allows for a contactless way of shopping - an essential feature in helping to decrease the risk to shoppers.

Winsford Guardian:

To prevent the transmission of coronavirus from volunteers to the vulnerable through the card itself, customers who are self isolating can send their card to their volunteer by email upon purchase, and funds can be topped up by the customer online.

Alternatively, Asda’s website suggests vulnerable people can also choose to print the e-gift card and leave it in a safe place for the volunteers to collect.

The cards also allow volunteers to pay for shopping without the vulnerable party having to disclose their bank details or hand over cash, reducing the potential for exploitation.

Commenting on the new cards, CEO of Asda, Roger Burnley said: “With the support of millions of amazing volunteers, we’ll be able to make sure these vulnerable customers have access to their shopping essentials.”

“I would like to personally thank you for your continued efforts of keeping to the social distancing measures in our stores and I ask that you continue to keep this up while we help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) together.”

  • How can I get a volunteer card?

The cards are available to purchase and top up online at Asda.com/volunteercard, before being given to the trusted person, such as a family member, friend, or NHS volunteer who has volunteered to shop for the isolated individual.

  • What else is being done to help vulnerable shoppers?

So far, the supermarket giant has introduced new social distancing measures, such as floor markers to keep customers two metres apart while queuing, and fitting perspex screens at checkouts across its stores nationwide.

The chain has also increased its online shopping home delivery options by adding 300,000 available time slots.