Ever wonder which big businesses are mucking in and helping out during the pandemic? Here’s a shout-out to some of the British brands giving back to the NHS.

From high-street stalwarts to high-end fashion giants, British-based businesses have been showing their generosity and ingenuity to not only support, clothe and show the nation’s appreciation to NHS frontline workers, but also to help the government engineer vital equipment needed by the NHS to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we say bravo to some of those doing their bit.


The Mobile network is offering free data until October for all NHS staff to help them stay connected to loved ones during a difficult time.


As of the 14 April, Dyson has been working to engineer a completely new design of ventilator to support the clinical needs of COVID-19 patients, bringing together some of the brightest minds in engineering, science and design to meet the high-tech spec required, in record time. If trials are passed they will be able to create 10,000 new ventilators for NHS hospitals in coming months.


The Sunderland plant of Nissan has already supplied the NHS with 77,000 PPE visors, with the aim to upscale this number to 100,000 a week in due course.


Heritage fashion brand, Burberry has repurposed its trench coat factory in Yorkshire to manufacture non-surgical gowns and masks for patients in NHS hospitals (minus the Burberry check), as well as sourcing 100,000 surgical masks for NHS doctors and nurses from its overseas supply network. Besides PPE, Burberry is also helping to fund research into a single-dose vaccine, currently in development at Oxford University, due to go on human trial in May.


Dettol has put together 150,000 care packages for NHS workers to help them keep their own homes as clean as possible and their families safe. It has also donated media space to support vital public health announcements around improved hygiene awareness.


Barbour is no stranger to supporting a national effort, having turned its hand to manufacturing military garments in both world wars. Now the South-Shields-based factory has switched up its wax jackets to make and supply gowns and scrubs to hospitals in the North East.


The Mindfulness and Meditation app Headspace is offering NHS staff free access until December to help them decompress and recharge between shifts.

John Lewis

John Lewis Partnership has launched a £1million Community Support Fund to help a range of charities that support the elderly and vulnerable, including Age UK, Trussell Trust and Grocery Aid. Over April it also put together care packages for NHS staff that include phone chargers, hand cream and Easter treats as a gesture of appreciation for the front-line workers.


Keeping stressed and tired NHS workers safe on their commute to and from work, Halfords is offering a free 10-point car check to all front-line staff, including tyre pressures, screenwash, oil check and lights.

Aston Martin

The luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin is using its leather cutting machines to make silicone components for ventilators, whilst its 3D printing machines are being utilises to print PPE visors, with non-surgical gowns in the pipeline, too.

Marks & Spencer

M&S has been thinking laterally, donating 4,000 pyjama sets for NHS workers at the NHS Royal Derby Hospital to wear as scrubs near their Castle Donington Distribution Centre. It has also put together patient packages for NHS Nightingale Hospital, as many COVID-19 patients are unable to get the essentials they need from friends and family. In order taht M&S customers can show their support too, it has launched a range of NHS Together T-shirts for adults and kids in a range of rainbow designs.


Boden has teamed up with Helpforce, a charity co-ordinating UK initiatives to help support NHS staff and patients by supplying nightwear and essentials to those unable to return home between shifts, as well as for recovering patients in hospital without access to supplies from friends and family.

The designer online retail giant, Net-a-Porter has put its London distribution centres to good use while its own business is temporarily suspended. It is repurposing all its delivery vans to support Age UK charities in the capital, delivering essential food and medical supplies to those most vulnerable and isolating at home.


Doing what it does best, Clarks has donated 5,000 pairs of shoes to NHS workers, as well as £70,000 to a trio of global charities through money raised by its 5p plastic bag levy.

Beside this huge effort from bigger national and international brands, the small and mighty independents are also showing their support, giving a percentage of sales to NHS charities and generous discounts to NHS workers, on which more to follow next week.

By Lydia Mansi
May 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.