We're extending our support for the pre-school nurseries who are doing such a great job providing essential childcare services during the lockdown by offering them priority access to online delivery slots.
Thanks to a continued expansion in our online service, we're offering the 5,000 nurseries across the UK who shop online with us a Priority Pass, providing advance access to online orders up to 21 days ahead, and the opportunity to book a recurring slot.
Kathryn Munden, who manages Rainbows Nursery in Swinton, Greater Manchester, receives her online order every Monday, with the delivery being used to make meals for around 30 children a day. She says the Priority Pass will make a huge difference.
"It's taken a big weight off my mind," said Kathryn. "We've been open all the way through the various lockdowns, so being able to provide everything for these children is important, as it means their parents can keep doing the great work they do every day. Children need quality and certainty because so many other things in the world are different."
We emailed nurseries to to let them know about the Priority Passes initiative – and Kathryn says it made her day when she received it.
She said: "I was so excited when I saw the email! Everything's been so difficult for everybody and we're all trying to do our best and work together, so having that security of knowing the slot's there and you can book the shopping in your own time is great.
"We need deliveries to come at a certain time of day at the start of each week so we have the items we need for the week ahead and so that it fits in with what our cook needs. You don't want to be putting the shopping away at the same time as cook is preparing lunch."
The nursery has 50 children on its register, aged from eight months to four years old. There are around 30 children in the nursery on a typical day.
Kathryn said: "The order each week is food for the children, cleaning supplies and hygiene products – everything we use, we get on this order.
"We try to ensure our children are getting the best meals we can give them.
"We do the shopping once a week because we can only really have space for a week's worth of food. We work off a menu and children recognise if you change what you buy and it sometimes means that child doesn't eat that meal. You also have to be careful watching for allergies and we know every ingredient Asda has and can easily check on the website, which gives us a lot of confidence."
The nursery's connection with Asda goes back a long way – children from the nursery helped open our nearby Pendlebury store in 2011, and Kathryn says she's ordered online since the service launched.
Kathryn said: "Swinton is the supermarket capital – I don't know anywhere with more supermarkets than we've got here – so shopping at Asda has been a definite choice for us.
"We choose Asda because of the prices and because the fruit and vegetables we get always look and taste good. It lasts well and is as good and fresh on the Friday as it is when we receive it on the Monday.
"We're a private nursery but we are working on tighter budgets and we've got to heat the building and light the building however many children we have in that day.
"The Asda website's really easy to navigate and it's easy to know what's in everything. If someone has a question – for example if someone's on a plant-based diet or has allergies – being able to check what the contents of something are is really useful."
Kathryn says a number of the Asda delivery drivers have become familiar faces over the years.
She said: "We have been dealing with Asda for so long that there are drivers we recognise, like Simon who we see all the time. They know our routine and they will say straight away what the temperature of the frozen food is so we don't need to worry. They're always really helpful and friendly people."
In addition to ours new initiative for nurseries, we're also extending our Priority Pass offer for more than 400,000 clinically extremely vulnerable customers and 2,500 care homes.
We're able to extend support for our most vulnerable customers thanks to an increase in online capacity, which has risen from 450,000 weekly slots at the start of last year 2020 to 850,000 now, with another 50,000 expected by April.
Simon Gregg, our Vice President of Online Grocery, said: “Nurseries provide a vital service to parents across the UK, including many Asda colleagues, who continue to benefit from their support under lockdown. By giving them priority access to slots it will enable them to receive regular grocery deliveries, which makes it possible for them to continue serving communities and carrying out their essential role.
“Since the start of the pandemic we have increased delivery capacity and accelerated our online expansion to meet levels we had anticipated reaching in eight years in a matter of months, and it is because of this that we are able to extend our support for our most vulnerable customers.
“We have supported clinically extremely vulnerable customers since shielding began and throughout the winter, and I am pleased that we are able to extend our Priority Pass offer to give further peace of mind as the vaccine programme rolls out.”