The John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose, has announced new measures to help its shops meet the needs of customers with a particular focus on the elderly and the vulnerable.
These include a £1million Community Support Fund to be distributed by Waitrose shops to local communities, and protected shopping time for the elderly and the vulnerable. The Partnership is also exploring offering online classes and advice from expert Partners to customers who are having to self-isolate at home. These could include craft classes and advice for expectant parents.
Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said; “At this time of national crisis, the John Lewis Partnership is wholeheartedly committed to ensuring we support customers and in particular the elderly and most vulnerable. Our commitment to contribute to the wellbeing of the communities we operate in has always been at the heart of our business.
“Partners have been outstanding, supporting each other and responding to the huge surge in demand at Waitrose. More than 2,100 John Lewis Partners are helping in Waitrose shops this month and supporting deliveries; I am truly grateful to everyone.”
A NEW COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND: A £1m Community Support Fund will be available to communities across the UK to help those in need in their local communities.
Teams in each shop will work together with their communities to choose the best way to use the fund. Help could include setting up additional local delivery services to support the self-isolating, the vulnerable, the elderly and those looking after them; delivering boxes of staples to local care homes and community groups, and donating products to create care packages for customers to share with vulnerable neighbours.
FOCUSING SHOPS AND OPERATIONS ON MEETING PRIMARY NEEDS: From Friday, in Waitrose supermarkets1 the elderly, the vulnerable and those who look after them will be able to take advantage of a prioritised and dedicated shopping hour. The dedicated hour will be the first opening hour of the shop. Waitrose.com is also working on a way to support its vulnerable customers who need food delivered to them.
Waitrose has also taken the decision to close all Waitrose Cafes and rotisseries and to temporarily suspend making coffees. This will free up extra hours for Partners to keep shelves stocked with food and essential items. In some cases, branches will be closing early to give Partners time to restock the shelves.
From today, Waitrose is also taking new steps to ensure food is distributed fairly. In addition to existing limits on some online items, there will be a limit of three for any specific grocery item, and a maximum of two packets of toilet roll per customer buying in shops.
SUPPORTING ISOLATED CUSTOMERS IN THEIR HOMES: Anticipating the feelings of loneliness and isolation customers may start to feel at home, John Lewis is exploring ways to offer its Partner led services remotely to customers in their homes. Expectant parents seeking important nursery advice for example could book an online session with a specialist nursery advisor to help them plan the key things to think about before their baby arrives. Other services could include wellbeing advice; craft and cookery classes provided by Partners online, or on one to one calls.
TAKING CARE OF OUR PARTNERS IN SERVICE OF OUR CUSTOMERS: To ensure the wellbeing of Partners, who are working long hours to meet the needs of customers, the Partnership is setting up a support fund to aid those who are facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic; such as childcare costs. Partners will also be offered free meals at work.
In addition, the Partnership will be supporting the Government campaign to help people across the UK.