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More good news for accessing groceries in NI

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has praised a local leading food retailer for the measures it is taking to support blind and partially sighted people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Four hundred and eighty seven SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXTRA and ViVO Essentials stores in Northern Ireland have pledged their commitment to supporting blind and partially sighted people, both in-store and with their, already existing, next day home delivery service.

RNIB’s best practice guidelines have been circulated to these 487 retailers to help serve and assist blind and partially sighted people who shop in-store and who use its home delivery service. This delivery service is available now in more than 225 SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXTRA and ViVO Essential stores across NI. Orders can be placed over the phone.

Dr Jackie Witherow, RNIB Northern Ireland Director, commented: “Our Helpline receives more than 100 calls a day from blind and partially sighted people who are worried about how to get hold of essential items they need.

“Current social distancing rules make going to the supermarket incredibly difficult for many. Limitations on access to online shopping have meant that people with sight loss have been excluded from priority slots – putting thousands of people in an impossible situation. That is why we’re so pleased that these stores and their teams have pledged to support the 56,500 people in Northern Ireland living with sight loss.”

Mark McCammond, Retail Director at Henderson Retail, said: “Our stores are in the heart of communities across Northern Ireland and since the start of the lockdown, we have adapted the way we serve our communities by introducing next-day home delivery as well as safety and distancing measures in store.

“We appreciate the challenges the more vulnerable in our communities are facing right now, which is why we have communicated RNIB’s guidelines to our stores in order to serve and look after our blind and partially sighted shoppers better.

“We’re very proud of how our teams have stepped up in recent weeks to help all members of the community, so we hope that these additional measures enable us to reach even further and ensure everyone feels confident coming to our stores in these challenging times.”

Support and information on shopping, and many other issues, are available from RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999, or email [email protected].