More than 700 Spar stores across England have signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, which enables volunteers to support vulnerable people who have been referred by health professionals and local authorities.

PIC 3 - Blakemore Retail's SPAR Laceby Lodge

Spar’s three wholesalers in England, AF Blakemore & Son, Appleby Westward and James Hall & Co, have activated the Royal Voluntary Service’s programme in the majority of company-owned Spar stores and within a number of independent Spar stores.

Over 750,000 people have signed up to be an NHS Volunteer Responders, which has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the coronavirus outbreak.

Doctors, nurses, those working in local authorities and other professionals are able to refer people to NHS Volunteer Responders. The programme enables volunteers to support the vulnerable person via the GoodSam Responder app.

Spar UK managing director Louise Hoste said: “We are very happy to partner with the RVS at this crucial time when they are coordinating the NHS Volunteer Responders programme. Spar stores around the UK are doing all they can to support their local communities and this programme is another way in which we can help.

“Using their ID, volunteers on the programme are able to take the shopping list from a vulnerable person to a participating Spar store, and know they can shop and pay. We hope to see the number of Spar stores in England participating in this to increase and thousands of vulnerable people benefiting from this service.”

Royal Voluntary Service director of services and deputy ceo, Sam Ward, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Spar stores for adjusting their systems to enable our volunteers to shop for vulnerable people in their community. Many people will rely on shopping support from our NHS Volunteer Responders and this payment solution will work well for our volunteers.”

All coronavirus advice is available on Convenience Store’s Shopsafe page here.