Big business gives over 60,000 people in the South East food, tech and care essentials to get through COVID-19

A charity set up by The Prince of Wales has got businesses to step up and help more than 60,000 people in the South East of England as they struggle to get the food, digital technology and care essentials that they need to survive the impact of COVID-19 on their jobs, lives and communities.  

Local business leader Frank Nigriello has hailed the initiative as the best way for businesses to show that they care about the communities around them as the pandemic wreaks havoc.  

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Business Response Network (created by Business in the Community) has been tracking down business support for local community groups, schools and charities in need, matching them with the big businesses which can donate goods or services. So far, the charity has helped half a million people across the UK to get what they need – from food parcels to laptops.

But businesses need to do more. Further restrictions and a harsh winter ahead mean that communities across the South East are still in desperate need of food, clothing, care essentials and digital skills.  

HRH The Prince of Wales and royal founding patron of BITC said (in a video recorded for BITC’s Responsible Business Live event in December): “For very nearly four decades I have been adamant about the vital role that business has to play in communities; after all, that ambition was one of the foundation stones of BITC itself back in 1982. At the time, we may not have had a global pandemic in mind, but in many ways the National Business Response Network is the ultimate realisation of the dream that we shared almost 40 years ago: I need hardly say how immensely grateful I am to every business leader who has had the courage to support it. I have no doubt that those who have done so have changed countless lives.”

Frank Nigriello, Director of Corporate Affairs, Unipart, Chair of BITC’s South East Regional Leadership Board, said: “Anyone with their ear to the ground in the South East knows that there are many people who are in desperate need of support. BITC’s National Business Response Network is the best way for businesses to lend a hand – and to change lives.”  

Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, added: “People across the South East are locked into a battle against COVID-19 this winter. BITC’s National Business Response Network has already changed thousands of lives – bringing the might of businesses to our doorsteps. But companies can do more. Together we can make sure the right support at the right time gets to the right place.”

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.

About BITC’s National Business Response Network  

BITC’s National Business Response Network connects national and local community groups, small businesses, local authorities and charities with businesses and brands who can offer support. Our mission is to match business resources to community needs in the right place, at the right time. The National Business Response Network platform tracks requests for help, offers of support, matches made and geographical reach.  

We are proud to have the support of our founding partners, (AXA, the COVID-19 Support Fund and London Stock Exchange), our supporting partners (Assurant, Barclays, UPS and the National Lottery Community Fund) and our network partners (CBI, FareShare, In Kind Direct, the National Emergencies Trust, the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership, Neighbourly, RE:ACT and UK Community Foundations).  

Businesses can sign up to help online, or call 0300 303 3993.


Unipart Group is a leading provider of manufacturing, logistics and consultancy services.

Frank Nigriello

Director of Corporate Affairs

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