PEOPLE across Wiltshire who are in dire straits because of the financial impact of coronavirus have been reassured they will qualify for a free food parcel, under the scheme being run by Wiltshire Council.

Vulnerable self-isolating people, and those who need an emergency food delivery, who are now being asked to pay for their parcel are only being charged the cost of the food in it - not for delivery or to fund the council staff running the scheme.

Following the announcement that Wiltshire, in line with other councils nationwide, would be charging people who can afford to pay for the parcels, a spokesman issued a statement saying: "All funds received for payment of these food parcels cover the cost of the food only and no profit is being made from the charging for food parcels.

"Some vulnerable self-isolating people have the means to pay for food but not the support network to go out and buy the food and the council has to balance the support it is providing to all of our residents

"Residents who cannot afford to pay for food parcels will receive parcels free of charge. This is in line with other local authorities."

Since the government sent local councils lists of people who have registered as vulnerable or have been sent letters telling them to regard themselves as at extra risk because they have a health condition, Wiltshire has been contacting them asking if they have a support network in place for food and essentials.

If not, they are added to the list for a food parcel delivery, with staff at the council hub at Five Rivers in Salisbury packing parcels for delivery countywide.

The hub is open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-4pm at the weekend for anyone who has support needs.

The spokesman added: “If anyone is in need of emergency food, that might be because they have not received a food parcel via a Government delivery, have not been able to secure a supermarket delivery slot, do not have local support that can help them get food or are in financial difficulty, the council can provide an emergency food parcel.

“We appreciate that not every household can afford to pay for their food parcel and in these circumstances they can apply for local welfare assistance from the council which will cover the cost of the food parcel.”

"Many people on the Government list are shielding due to having serious underlying health conditions making them at high risk of catching coronavirus if they don’t stay at home.

"You can find more about this on the website"

" People can call our helpline on: 0300 003 4576 or via email at It's available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday – that includes the bank holiday weekend."