A charity set up by The Prince of Wales has got businesses to step up and help more than 29,800 people in Yorkshire and the Humber 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 Helen Kaye 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 Yorkshire and the Humber 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.”

Helen Kaye, Partner, Deloitte, Chair of BITC’s Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Leadership Board, said: “Anyone with their ear to the ground in Yorkshire and the Humber 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 Yorkshire and the Humber 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.”