A WEE COUNTY supermarket has launched a community initiative aimed to help people isolated by the pandemic.

Asda has extended its Happy to Chat initiative which will see delivery drivers in its Alloa store add a new element to their uniform: a Happy to Chat badge, letting customers know they are happy to have a chat with them whilst their shopping is being delivered.

The initiative first launched as a trial across the UK in November in conjunction with the Royal Voluntary Service, after it was recognised that the drivers formed a lifeline for some people throughout the pandemic.

A Pulse of The Nation survey found almost a quarter (23 per cent) of customers said they were only interacting with people once a week, many of whom were delivery drivers.

After a positive response and uptake from drivers, Asda is now making the badges a permanent option for all of its 7,500 delivery drivers.

James Louden, a delivery driver at the Alloa store, said: "All our drivers are more than happy to chat to all our customers, so I think the badges are a great job.

"A few customers have told us they look forward to their delivery coming, which is really nice to hear.

"For some customers, we genuinely will be the only person they speak to that day, so it's nice to see we can make a difference and brighten their day in a way."

James continued: "They are especially useful at the moment with everything going on, so that anyone who is feeling lonely knows they can have a nice chat with us, even if it's just general chit-chat – it's lovely to be able to help brighten someone's day in any way we can."

Simon Gregg, vice president of online grocery at Asda, added: "Many people are still feeling the impact of a lack of regular contact with friends and family, so it felt right to make our Happy to Chat badges a permanent fixture to our drivers' uniforms.

"We're incredibly proud of all the work they do – and this badge is a symbol of their continued friendly and approachable service which can make such a difference to those that don't have much contact with others."