Business shows it is firmly in the heart of communities as thousands are supported

Thousands of individuals from communities across Northern Ireland have been supported by businesses through Business in the Community’s Business Response Network.

It connects local community groups, small businesses, local authorities and charities with businesses and brands who can offer support. It aims to match business resources to community needs as quickly as possible.

Much has already been achieved, but further restrictions and a harsh winter mean that communities are still in desperate need of food, clothing, care essentials and digital skills to survive.

Businesses have the resources to help, and can register their support via a digital platform –

Recent Business Response Network matches during the pandemic include:

  • Danske Bank provided skills and expertise on digital marketing for charity, TinyLife
  • Verizon, a UK communications company, provided training sessions to teach staff and them how to set up an international Zoom conference at Camphill Community
  • Digi Skills provided ongoing technical support for their online training programmes for Aware NI
  • Mills Selig provided advice and expertise to Include Youth to help them complete a website tender
  • The Henderson Group has provided a Community Cashback Grant of £20k to help local charities and community groups, and has just donated 13 desktop PCs to help local community organisations get online
  • Allstate NI has made donations of PPE and scrubs, provided funding for Trussell Trust food bank and supported Age NI’s Check In and Chat support phone line
  • PwC supported Advice NI in the early days of the COVID crisis by manning their phone lines when calls jumped from 400 a day to more than 2,000 and it is providing daily volunteers for East Belfast’s Mission’s on Meals on Wheels service
  • Lidl has provided a steady stream of craft supplies, stationery and even ear defenders to help kids in and out of school

Valerie Cromie, Head of Fundraising, TinyLife, said: “When the pandemic hit and we went into lockdown, we had to pivot very quickly to bring our services online. It really wasn’t an easy task for us as we are helping parents at one of the most difficult stages – with very premature babies.

“Business in the Community connected us with Danske Bank, who kindly enabled Catherine in their digital team to provide some volunteer time to help us. Catherine’s support was revolutionary. What would have taken us many hours to sort, was resolved in minutes. I feel that we are in a much better place digitally, and still learning and improving with the ongoing support received.”

Kieran Harding, Managing Director, Business in the Community, added: “Communities across Northern Ireland are locked into a battle against COVID-19 this winter. The vaccinations programme is a hugely positive step, but unfortunately we will be feeling the health and economic effects of the pandemic for many months to come. We can all do more. Business remains at the heart of the community and together we can make sure the right support gets to the right places at the right time.”

If your business can help this winter, please get in touch with If you or your colleagues would like to offer your skills to help community organisations or charities