Customers can check the balance of their e-gift card online to keep track of grocery spending
It follows M&S and Asda’s launches of similar initiatives last week
The retailer is also giving away 50,000 boxes of Easter eggs and chocolates to NHS workers this week
Waitrose has launched an e-gift card to help the army of NHS volunteers to shop for elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating people who can’t leave their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
Customers unable to get to the shops can buy the dedicated e-gift card online. It can then be emailed directly to friends, neighbours and volunteers to use on their behalf in Waitrose stores.
The card, which can be loaded with a maximum of £500, has been designed to provide elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating households with a simple and contact-free way to pay for their shopping without having to take out cash or share bank details.
It follows the government’s recruitment drive for NHS volunteers to help those in self-isolation with essential tasks such as grocery shopping and assisting pharmacies with medication deliveries.
Customers can check the balance of their e-gift card online to keep track of grocery spending.
Physical partnership gift cards can also be bought in-store or online and posted to volunteers or sent to customers who can give them to volunteers.
“We are pleased to be able to support our customers and the nation’s brilliant army of volunteers during these unprecedented times,” said Bérangère Michel, executive director of customer service at the John Lewis Partnership.
“Local communities have really rallied around those unable to get to the shops themselves and we want to make it as simple as possible for kind-hearted volunteers to get essential groceries to them.”
Waitrose and John Lewis are also giving away 50,000 boxes of Easter eggs and chocolates to NHS workers battling the coronavirus outbreak.
Fifty-one Waitrose shops will be gifting chocolates donated from John Lewis, which include truffles and mini Easter eggs, to NHS staff when they visit the shops from this Friday up until the Easter weekend.
The Waitrose branches have been chosen because of proximity to NHS hospitals, with shops based across London, Dorset, Hampshire, Northumberland and the West Midlands.
Peter Cross, director of customer experience at JLP, said: “In these extremely difficult times, we wanted to make a small gesture to those working on the frontline. We hope these gifts will go a little way in helping to express our gratitude and simply brighten up the day a little for the NHS staff who are working tirelessly in really challenging circumstances.”
The introduction of the e-gift card is the latest in a series of measures JLP has put in place during the pandemic, including priority trading hours for elderly and vulnerable customers, priority shopping for NHS staff, priority access to online shopping deliveries for elderly and vulnerable customers and donations to local charities.
Waitrose shops involved in the Easter egg giveaway and nearby hospitals:
Allington Park – Maidstone Hospital
Andover – Andover War Memorial Hospital
Balham – Springfield University Hospital
Barbican – St –Bartholomew’s Hospital
Battersea – Royal Brompton Hospital
Bedford – Bedford Hospital North Wing
Bloomsbury – University College Hospital London
Bury St Edmunds – West Suffolk Hospital
Cambridge – Royal Papworth Hospital
Caversham – Royal Berkshire Hospital
Cheltenham – Cheltenham General Hospital
Cirencester – Cirencester Hospital
Croydon – Croydon University Hospital
Dorchester – Dorset County Hospital
East Grinstead - Queen Victoria Hospital (East Grinstead)
East Sheen – Barnes Hospital
Eastbourne – Eastbourne District General Hospital
Edgware Road – St Mary’s Hospital (HQ)
Epsom – Epsom Hospital
Frimley – Frimley Park Hospital
Fulham – Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
Gloucester Road – The Royal Marsden Hospital
Guildford – Royal Surrey County Hospital
Harborne – Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
Haslemere – Haslemere Hospital
Headington – Churchill Hospital
Hexham – Hexham General Hospital
High Wycombe – Wycombe Hospital
Holloway Road – The Whittington Hospital
Jesmond – Freeman Hospital
John Barnes – Royal Free Hospital
New Malden – Kingston Hospital
Newark – Newark Hospital
Northwich – Victoria Infirmary Northwich
Oakgrove – Milton Keynes Hospital
Parkstone – Poole Hospital
Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks Hospital
Southampton – Southampton General Hospital
St Albans – St Albans City Hospital
St Katherine Docks – Guy’s Hospital
Stroud – Stroud General Hospital
Thame – Thame Community Hospital
Trinity Square -– Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust – Queen’s Medical Centre Campus
Vauxhall – St Thomas’ Hospital
West Kensington – Charing Cross Hospital
Westfield – Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital
Wimbledon – St George’s Hospital
Winchester – Royal Hampshire County Hospital
Wolverhampton – St Jude’s Women’s Hospital (HQ)
Worcester – Worcestershire Royal Hospital
York – The York Hospital