Charities will be able to partner with businesses to get free support during the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Business Response Network has been launched by Business in the Community, a charity set up by Prince Charles to champion responsible business.
The network will seek to identify community needs during the Covid-19 pandemic and match them to the right business support.
Community groups, schools, local authorities, local resilience bodies, charities, alliances including the British Red Cross Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership, and small businesses will all be able to apply for support.
Issues that the network would seek to address include food shortages, helping people connect using technology, and social care.
Businesses would provide professional support, lend or donate resources and provide logistics, such as the transportation of people, goods or services.
The food waste charity FareShare is among those to have benefited so far, with the train company London North Eastern Railway having distributed 11,000 sandwiches to FareShare projects across the country.
The network facilitated conversations between the charity’s regional distribution centres in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds and York and the train company, which runs through all four cities.
Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, said: “We know the impact that businesses can have at times like these and our members tell us every day how much they want to make a difference to those most in need.
“Through our network, we can provide lifelines to people and communities affected by the pandemic.
“We know what local communities need as they battle the impact of Covid-19 on their towns and cities, and we’re calling on businesses who want to offer support to contact us to make sure their support gets to the right place at the right time.”
Community organisations in need of help can make requests by calling the network’s 24-hour hotline on 0141 285 3821, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting on the network’s online board.