COVID-19: National Business Response Network matches nearly 1200 community needs with business support

  • Nearly 1,200 (1,191) matches between business offers of support and schools, charities and local community groups across the UK have been made since the start of the Covid-19 crisis
  • Food by far the most matched request with offers of support from businesses such as LNER donating 10,000 sandwiches each week for the past 10 weeks to over 200 communities.
  • Food, technology, clothing and skills support are the biggest community needs which urgently require support from business

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Business Response Network has already made nearly 1,200 (1,191) matches between local community groups, schools and charities and UK businesses that have been able to meet their urgent needs during the crisis.

The National Business Response Network was launched in April by Business in the Community, a charity and The Prince’s Responsible Business Network with over 750 member companies. Since its launch, it has received a total of £2 million investment from AXA and the London Stock Exchange Group with each contributing £1 million to accelerate the initiative.

The network focuses its activity on four key areas helping communities navigate their way through the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Food: Ensuring people have continued access to food
  • Technology: Support to enable children to continue learning, and older people to stay connected to families
  • Community support: Support to vulnerable groups and older people to enable continued access to food, healthcare, social interaction and other essentials
  • Small businesses: Creating resources with advice and practical tools specifically for small businesses; providing business continuity and wellbeing support through mentoring for small businesses

To date, food has been by far the most matched request with offers of support from businesses (463 matches).

Recent examples of matches made on a national scale include:

  • Tesco Mobile donated 798 mobile phones to 12 charities across the UK. Preloaded with SIMs, the phones are helping charities and community organisations to continue supporting vulnerable people throughout the pandemic.
  • LNER has donated 10,000 sandwiches each week for the past 10 weeks. These sandwiches have been used to help organisations like Fareshare and smaller community groups to support over 200 communities across the country.
  • Through the NBRN, Colas UK’s donation of £1,000 for food, £500 for cleaning products, PPE and toiletries was matched with 4 charities across the UK which are supporting vulnerable people throughout the pandemic.

Community organisations in need of help and businesses wanting to offer their support can visit the National Business Response Network online board of needs and offers: www.businessresponsecovid.org.uk.

The three areas we most urgently need support from business are: food, technology, clothing and skills support.
Amanda Mackenzie OBE, chief executive of Business in the Community, said:
“One way or another everyone is fighting to get through where we find ourselves right now, and in nearly every instance we’ve seen the best way to achieve this is for local groups, charities and businesses to come together.

“This makes the milestone of 1000 matches of business donations connected to local community needs all the more impressive and inspiring. Thank you to everyone who has made The National Business Response Network so successful in only 8 weeks. Don’t stop now. Businesses have dormant resources they might not have even thought about that we can connect to our communities so much in need. ‘Open your cupboards’, see what you have, and get in touch.”

Lucinda Charles-Jones, AXA UK & Ireland HR director & Business in the Community Board of Trustees director:

“One thousand matches between communities in need and companies that are able to offer support is an incredible milestone. Food, technology and resources have been provided to those that have needed it most during the pandemic. But we can’t stop now. There are still hundreds of schools, charities and community groups out there that need our help, so if you are a business who wants to get involved, no matter how big or small, please sign up to the National Business Response Network.”

— Ends —

Note to editor
• National Business Response Network figures correct at time of 1 pm, Friday 12th June 2020.

Media Contact:
Katherine Howbrook, head of media and external affairs, Business in the Community
Email: katherine.howbrook@bitc.org.uk, Tel: 07515 119 096

About the National Business Response Network

Through Business in the Community’s vast regional and local connections and leaders on the ground, the National Business Response Network identifies national and local community needs from community groups, schools, local authorities, local resilience bodies, charities and alliances such as the British Red Cross Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership and small businesses. The network then connects business resources to meet the following needs:

  • Food: Ensuring people have continued access to food.
  • Technology: Support to enable children to continue learning, and older people to stay connected to families.
  • Community support: Support to vulnerable groups and older people to enable continued access to food, healthcare, social interaction and other essentials.
  • Small businesses: Creating resources with advice and practical tools specifically for small businesses; providing business continuity and wellbeing support through mentoring for small businesses.

The business resources we will be matching to community needs are:

  • Professional support: Using the untapped resources and goodwill of our member companies to provide human resource to support communities in the UK.
  • Lending/donating resources: Lending or donating resources to organisations and people to meet need.
  • Logistics: Transportation of people, goods and services.

About Business in the Community
Business in the community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • Develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow;
  • Build thriving communities where people want to live and work;
  • Innovate to sustain and repair our planet.

www.bitc.org.uk