I need help

Helping residents most in need

Last updated: 27 April 2020

We are working closely with our partners and community and voluntary groups all over the city. We want to make sure we are able to provide help to those who most need it.

If you need more help and support, please consider the options below. If you are looking for ways to help out others, please see how you can help.

How can I get help?  

Southampton Community Hub

If you are vulnerable, in critical need, and unable to rely on family or friends for adequate practical support, our Community Support Hub may be able to help you with:

  • Emergency food parcels and social contact, if needed, to those who are isolated or unable to leave their homes
  • Linking and connecting you to local support in your local area such as voluntary organisations and community groups
  • Any queries and issues you have relating to coronavirus, such as if you are unable to pay council tax or if you cannot pay your rent

Please call us on 023 8083 4800 (open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm), contact us via webchat or fill in the online form:

Community support request

If you live outside of Southampton, you can get information, advice and practical support from Hantshelp4vulnerable on 0333 370 4000. This line is currently open from 9am-5pm, seven days a week.

If you need medical help, call the NHS on 111. If it is a medical emergency, call 999.

Find local help

Southampton Voluntary Services, who are supporting our Hub, have put together a database of Community Links for support during COVID-19 where you can search for help, guidance and services on a variety of topics by postcode. This is continuously updated.

Love Southampton, an initiative of local churches and organisations are also bringing people together for the good of our city and helping those impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. You can request help, or volunteer to help by completing the relevant registration form.

We are also working with NHS Southampton City CCG and Saints Foundation to co-ordinate the collection and delivery of medications for those who do not have a family/friend network in place for support. They are liaising with pharmacies across the city as well as other voluntary services and faith groups to make this happen.

Protecting extremely vulnerable residents  

In addition to the above, the government has also identified some people who are ‘extremely vulnerable’ to getting seriously ill from Coronavirus because of an underlying health condition such as COPD, certain cancers, auto-immune conditions and pregnant women with underlying health conditions and need to ‘shield’. This means not leaving your home and minimising contact with other members of your household. If you are in this group, you will have received a text or letter from Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to confirm this.

If you do not have friends, family or neighbours who can provide support, you can register for help on GOV.UK to access what you need. to access what you need. This includes help with food, shopping deliveries, additional care and medication services.

Other forms of support  

If you’re experiencing financial difficulty, or would like some specialist advice, you can access information and support via:

You may also find it useful to see how we are supporting vulnerable people and how to stay well at home.

Keeping safe  

It is vital that if you are giving, or receiving help, you take precautions to ensure your safety and those of others.

We urge all volunteers to adhere to government’s guidance on how to volunteer safely. For advice and tips, take a look at these videos created by Southampton Voluntary Service.

If you are receiving help, you should follow the Government’s social distancing and hygiene guidance. Do not let anyone into your home, unless you have confirmation that they are a registered professional or representative of a recognised Voluntary / Community sector organisation. Be cautious and curious and ask volunteers for proof of ID. You may also be interested in our advice on avoiding Covid-19 scams.

You can keep up to date with the latest government guidance.

If you’re worried you have Coronavirus, follow the NHS advice.

Supermarket opening hours for the elderly and vulnerable  

Many supermarkets have set aside hours when only elderly and vulnerable people are allowed inside to shop. In some cases, you may be required to show specific ID to indicate your vulnerable status - check your local supermarket website for more information.

In many cases there are also dedicated shopping hours for NHS and other key workers.


  • Elderly and vulnerable - Monday to Saturday, from opening to 9am (opening times vary from 6am to 8am, check locally)
  • NHS workers - Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8am to 9am (larger stores only)


  • Elderly and vulnerable - Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8am to 9am
  • NHS workers - Monday to Saturday, 7.30am to 8am


  • Elderly and vulnerable - Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9am to 10am (excludes Express stores)
  • NHS workers - Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9am to 10am (excludes Express stores)


  • Elderly and vulnerable - No dedicated times
  • NHS workers - Monday to Saturday, 7am to 8am


  • Elderly and vulnerable - The first hour of opening, every day (check locally)
  • NHS workers - The last hour of every day (check locally)

M&S Foodhalls

  • Elderly and vulnerable - Monday and Thursday, the first hour of opening (check locally)
  • NHS workers - Tuesday and Friday, the first hour of opening (check locally)


  • Elderly and vulnerable - The first hour of opening, every day
  • NHS workers - The first hour of opening, every day


  • Elderly and vulnerable - No dedicated times
  • NHS workers - Dedicated browsing time from 7.30am until store opening at 8am


  • Elderly and vulnerable - No dedicated times
  • NHS workers - No dedicated times


  • Elderly and vulnerable - Saturday 8am to 9am, Sunday 10am to 11am
  • NHS workers - Saturday 8am to 9am, Sunday 10am to 11am