Shopping independently

If you find shopping on your own difficult or are unable to leave your home, there are many different ways to shop independently.  

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Telephone shopping services 

There are companies who can take your shopping order over the telephone and deliver it to your door.  Payment is normally by debit or credit card over the phone. You can find more information about companies offering this service by searching online.

Some grocery retailers offer an assisted shopping scheme, where they can take your order over the phone, and deliver it to you. You may need to register by telephone beforehand, and minimum order amounts can apply in order to qualify for home delivery. In most cases you must be able to pay by card. Contact your local retailer directly to find out if they offer this service.

Frozen ready meals delivered to your door 

There are many companies who can send you a catalogue of frozen meals to browse in the comfort of your own home. You choose the meals you wish to order and either go online to place your order or call them directly.

There are usually a wide range of foods available that cater for all types of dietary requirements, from vegetarian to pureed meals. Meals can usually be heated in a microwave oven and come with full instructions.  

You can usually pay either by debit or credit card when placing your order, or pay the driver by cash or cheque on delivery. 

Your order will be delivered to your door, the driver will even put them away for you.   

If you find the instructions difficult to read, your delivery driver can help you to re-label your meals to make this more accessible. 

Online shopping  

If you have access to the internet, either within your own home or at your local library, you can arrange for your local supermarket to deliver your shopping direct to your door.  

Your local library offers free access to computers and the internet.  

If you have access to the internet but are not sure how to use it, you can get free support  at your local library and learn to do your shopping independently as well as much more online.   

If you still do not feel confident ordering your shopping yourself, why not ask a trusted friend, carer or family member to support you.  

Support in store  

If you are able to go to the supermarket by yourself, but may need some support while in the store, most supermarkets will offer a shop assistant to physically help you.   

Visit your local supermarket’s customer service department to see what free in store support they can provide.    

Getting to your local supermarket or shopping centre  

If you don’t drive or there is no one that can take you, there are community transport schemes in South Gloucestershire which offer regular shopping days. To find your local community transport scheme visit the main South Gloucestershire Council Website page on Community Transport.

Local community shops  

Smaller independent local shops such as butchers and bakeries may offer a personal service such as taking your order over the phone and delivering it later the same day.  Ask around in your community to find out what could be available. 

Meals in your community  

If you would rather avoid cooking altogether, there are ways of accessing hot meals prepared for you. Find out more on our Meals in your community page.  

Support to take you shopping 

If shopping is important to you but it has become more difficult, you may want to consider asking a friend or family member if they can take you when they go themselves. 

If this is not an option, you could look into paying for a carer from an agency to take you.  Each care agency will have their own prices depending on the tasks being provided.   

You will need to contact the agencies directly to see if they offer a shopping service and what they would charge. The Care Quality Commission website has a list of local care agencies. 

 If you are considering this option, you may want to think about  

  • where you will want to go and how far is it? 
  • how you will get there - is it within walking distance or will the carer need to have a car? 
  • will you be able to walk around the shop or will you need to borrow a wheelchair or scooter?  
  • if you have your own wheelchair, will the carer be able to lift it into and out of their car? 
  • how the carer will need to assist you, for example will you require physical help such as being pushed in a wheelchair, help to use the bathroom when out, help to get ready before the shopping trip and help to put the shopping away afterwards.  
  • how long the entire shopping trip will take you (maximum time) 

If you feel this is the right option, but you are unable to afford this then you may be able to apply for specific benefits.  Citizens advice can help you to see if you are eligible for any benefits that can support you. You can call them on 03444 111 444

There are also regular advice and welfare drop-in sessions which are run at community venues across South Gloucestershire. 

If you feel that not being able to go shopping yourself is affecting your health and well-being, you may be eligible for support from South Gloucestershire Council.   

For information on the cost of community services and how much you are likely to pay, read our article Paying for adult social care and support if you live in your own home.  You can also request an estimate by calling the Finance and Benefits team (FAB) on 01454 864269 or email You can also use our care cost calculator.  

You can refer yourself for a Social Care assessment by calling the Adult Care Desk 01454 868007 

Minicom: 01454 868010 (Due to a technical problem, the Minicom service is not available. You can contact us using the SMS text service on 07950 080111).