Waitrose has launched a dedicated e-gift card for self-isolating customers who want to organise payment for groceries delivered by volunteers, friends or other family members.

Customers unable to get to the shops themselves can buy an e-gift card online at www.johnlewisgiftcard.com which can be emailed directly to friends, neighbours and volunteers to use on their behalf in Waitrose & Partners shops.

The e-gift card provides elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating households with a simple, safe and contact-free way to pay for their shopping without having to take out cash or share bank card details.

It follows the Government’s recruitment drive last month for NHS Volunteer responders who could help those in self-isolation with essential tasks such as grocery shopping and assisting pharmacies with medication deliveries. The initiative has already attracted more than 750,000 volunteers.

Bérangère Michel, Executive Director of Customer Service at the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘We are pleased to be able to support our customers and the nation’s brilliant army of volunteers during these unprecedented times. 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.’

The e-gift cards will be available for purchase in £10 denominations up to £500.

When purchasing the e-gift card, customers will be asked to enter their own or their volunteer’s email address so they can receive a copy of the e-gift card.  This can then be printed out or saved to a phone and presented at the checkout in-store. Customers can also check the balance of their e-gift card online to keep track of their grocery spending.

Physical Partnership gift cards can also be bought in-store or online and then posted to volunteers or sent to customers who can give it to volunteers themselves.

The introduction of the e-gift card is the latest in a series of measures that the John Lewis Partnership has put in place to support its customers, Partners and local  communities, during the coronavirus pandemic.

These include dedicating the first hour of trade every day to elderly and vulnerable customers, and their carers, priority shopping for NHS staff, priority access to online shopping deliveries for elderly and vulnerable customers and donations to local charities.

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