Asda has just launched a new kindness initiative.

The supermarket giant has asked its drivers to check in on isolated customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dedicated delivery staff will stop and natter in a bid to ward off loneliness in the run-up to Christmas.

The scheme has launched in collaboration with the Royal Voluntary Service and from today every one of its 7,500 home delivery drivers can wear festive ‘Happy To Chat’ badges and spend time talking on the doorstep.

It follows research showing two thirds of Brits (63%) say they are experiencing loneliness as a result of coronavirus restrictions, and that delivery drivers have become a lifeline to many.

The study of 2,700 over-50s in the UK found that a quarter had contact with only ONE person in a week, and a similar number said they looked forward to having a grocery delivery just to have someone to talk to.

The RVS research found 36% of over-50s say a quick chat can lift their spirits during these difficult times.

But despite this, two in five people shy away from starting a conversation as they don’t want to be a burden.

Asda’s heartwarming initiative was inspired by home delivery driver Geoff Norris.

The 53-year-old was awarded British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last month going to extraordinary lengths to help his local community during the pandemic.

Geoff, from Wisbech, Cambs, arranged for his team to look after vulnerable and elderly people, and also organised a surprise 90th birthday treat for a customer self-isolating on her own on her big day.

Geoff, who is married to Vanessa and has a 22-year-old daughter Anna, said: “There were a lot of people out there who were in need and I knew I had to do something to help. Some of them were in tears.

“It wasn’t just me; my wife and daughter were taking phone calls, and a lot of my colleagues at Asda helped too. They were fantastic.”

As well as its drivers, Asda’s Community Champions will be working with local school children to create Christmas cards for local care homes and those isolated in the community.

Special post boxes will be available in larger stores for customers wishing to get involved.

Virtual community networking events are also being hosted to bring those that are isolated together to share tips and advice.

Vice President of Online Grocery at Asda, Simon Gregg, said: “We’ve always been proud to have some of the friendliest drivers.

“The Happy to Chat badges are a symbol of the great work they do – delivering a little kindness along with their groceries to someone who may be lonely or isolated.”

Sam Ward, Deputy CEO/Director of Services at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “We all understand that Christmas can be difficult for those who are on their own and that this year stands to be trickier than ever.

“With the help of this fantastic project, it shows that even just a little Christmas kindness will go a long way in making the festive season easier for those in need.”

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