Two Carlisle corner shops are joining the Deliveroo network to better serve their customers during the coronavirus lockdown.

McColl’s on Cumwhinton Road, off London Road and the McColl’s corner shop on Shady Grove Road in Raffles are now a part of the delivery network, with couriers delivering a range of items straight to customers’ doorsteps within half an hour.

With Deliveroo known for working with restaurants or takeaways, the addition of McColl’s to the network is a departure from the international firm’s normal remit.

McColl’s Shady Grove Road manager Ryan Graham explained that the change, which took place this week, has been prompted by the difficulties faced by customers during the coronavirus lockdown.

“We’ve been delivering to the elderly ourselves - people are just ringing us up,” Ryan said. “But there’s only so much that we can do on our own.

“We’re really keen to help as many people as we can. It’s a hard time for everyone. Everyone’s nervous, everyone’s scared. Being able to get the essentials to our customers is our chance to help them.”

McColl’s are still open for those able to visit in person, however as Ryan points out, a large number of his customers are either elderly, particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus or are parents with young children.

“A lot of parents don’t want to bring their children into shops at the moment,” he said.

“We’re operating a two in, two out policy at the moment. We’re making sure we follow the social distancing guidelines, but people still don’t want to bring their children out and stand in queues if they can help it.”

Customers will be able to choose from a selection of 300 products sold in the McColl’s stores, from food, drink and toiletries to cleaning products and magazines.

“We’re only doing it, initially on weekdays, from 5pm until 7.30pm. We’re also doing it each Saturday and Sunday from 11.30pm until 7.30pm,” Ryan said.

Ryan added that he has been extremely proud to work with his team at the Shady Grove Road branch, as everyone has pulled out all the stops to make sure the shop operates safely during the coronavirus crisis.

“I couldn’t wish for a better team in the people that I work with.

“Our head office have supported us relentlessly as well, in doing whatever we need to feel safe.

“It’s a scary time, but we’re all doing our best. It’s nice to be able to help people by making sure we can keep them supplied with what they need.

“This is our time to really give something back to our customers, to help and support them in this particular time of need.”