Matches made in heaven for community groups, charities and schools

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Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Business Response Network has made nearly 1200 matches between local community groups, schools and charities and UK businesses that have been able to meet their urgent needs during the crisis.

Recent examples of matches across our region include: Tesco Mobile donated 60 mobile phones and Carter Jonas donated 20 smartphone to Elmore Community Services. The charity has been using the phones to continue providing vital support to people in the Oxfordshire area throughout the COVID-19 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 more than 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).

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 most urgently needing 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.”