Food delivery company Deliveroo launched a new programme to provide hundreds of thousands of free meals to staff and volunteers at COVID-19 vaccine sites across the UK.
Will Shu, CEO, said: “As the vaccine rollout increases at impressive speed, giving hope to so many across the country, we want to do our small part to show our enormous gratitude to the volunteers and NHS staff working night and day to keep people safe.
As a British business, nothing makes me prouder than to use the restaurant and logistics network we have built to support the frontline heroes of this pandemic.”
The initiative, called ‘Lunch for Lifesavers’ is supported by companies such as BP (BP.L), which has donated 250,000 free meals and food including sandwiches, salads, soft drinks and snacks.
Over the coming weeks, with donations from partners including wagamama, Pizza Hut, Morrisons and Tortilla, Deliveroo will send free meals to vaccine sites in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and Sheffield.
Since the beginning of the year, Deliveroo has been providing free meals to St John’s Ambulance training centres in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Brighton, London and Birmingham, where over 30,000 clinical volunteers are preparing to support the mass rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
Deliveroo has also been working closely with popular restaurants including Dishoom, Eggslut, Nando’s, Pizza Hut and Rosa’s Thai, to deliver meals to NHS frontline workers at hospitals.
Health secretary Matt Hancock noted that “the incredible staff and volunteers delivering COVID-19 vaccines across the country deserve all of our support. I know just how valued access to meals were in the first wave, so I want to thank Deliveroo for the launch of 'Lunch for Lifesavers' and continuing that invaluable support.”
Hancock also in the last week the UK has seen 37,258 cases of coronavirus, on average each day. The NHS is “still under intense pressure” across all parts of the country with 37,899 people in UK hospitals with COVID-19 – and that includes 4,076 on ventilators.
On a positive note, he said the UK vaccinated 78.7% of all over 80s, or “almost four in five” of everyone aged over 80.
Several companies have been doing their part to support the country’s vaccination rollout. Addison Lee said it will offer a 25% discount on rides for customers traveling to and from three vaccination hubs, while Uber (UBER) said it will cover a maximum of £15 ($20) for trips taken to one of seven mass-vaccination centres.
Meanwhile, Deliveroo’s latest fundraising round has valued the takeaway firm at more than $7bn (£5bn).
The company, which is readying for a bumper stock market listing, raised $180m from its investors, including from minority stakeholder Amazon (AMZN). The firm had already raised $1.5bn from investors.
It plans to use the money to innovate, set up for delivery only kitchen sites, and grow its online grocery business.
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