Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Business Response Network has 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.
In Wales, this equates to 84 matches with recipients. A recent example of a match in Wales is:
- Through ACT Training Ltd, a BITC Cymru member, the NBRN , was introduced to Ian Bills, the director of South Wales & South West FLT Training, who is not only supporting Fareshare Cymru as a forklift driver but is now also training other volunteers to become drivers.
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 across the UK, with offers of support from businesses (558 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 four 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.”