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Bubble & Squeak

GREAT Inspirations celebrates some of the many UK businesses, organisations and individuals that have done extraordinary things during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As companies reopen and adjust across the UK, we are shining a light on some who have gone above and beyond for their customers, their employees or their communities and who have innovatively adapted to a new way of doing business.

Whether it’s making sure vulnerable customers have well-stocked fridges, shifting production to support the national effort, devising creative solutions to keep communities connected, or delivering socially distanced entertainment, our GREAT Inspirations all have fantastic stories to tell.

Meet our GREAT Inspirations



The designs of a new breathing aid developed by engineers at UCL and Formula One have been made freely available and have been downloaded by over 100 countries worldwide.

Local women in Mozambique holding children
Kenmare Resources


Kenmare Resources donated 8 ventilators and 50 CPAP machines to health authorities in Mozambique. The miner also donated over 23,000 masks, hand sanitation kits and other PPE to local communities.

Person handling equipment in a case



The Vodacom Tanzania Foundation has donated over $800,000 to support government efforts in combating spread of COVID-19 pandemic, including purchasing medical equipment and supporting awareness campaigns.

Person handling equipment in a case


The University
of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

A group of people sitting at a table in front of a whiteboard screen displaying a company’s website

UK & Africa

Kortext and 2Simple have provided online access to study material and prescribed textbooks for students and teachers across South Africa during COVID-19.

Three people holding containers and equipment standing in front of three trucks



Diageo is providing a $100 million recovery fund to support to support bars and pubs as they welcome customers back through a new global programme, “Raising the Bar”.

Four people holding industrial bags

UK & India


OakNorth provided food kits for 2,000 socio-economically underprivileged families in Delhi NCR and Bengaluru during the COVID-19 lockdown, distributed safely by the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Man feeding a pump into a tanker truck
Chivas Brothers


Chivas Brothers became NHS Scotland’s first pro-bono hand sanitiser supplier. They have produced tens of thousands of bottles to 235 social care providers and charities across Scotland in the fight against COVID-19.

Four people standing in front of trolleys containing stacks of boxes



Fullgreen donated 25,000 packs of riced veggies to families in need across the US and the UK, ensuring they had healthy food on the table throughout the lockdown period.

Woman standing in front of a pub holding a small crate of vegetables


The King's Head


 Local Aylesbury pub The King's Head worked together with their restaurant menu suppliers to host a farmers' market so that customers could purchase locally produced goods.

Four children holding up pieces of fruit
Bubble & Squeak


Kids-run social enterprise Bubble & Squeak rescues surplus food and redistributes it to local parents and after-school cooking clubs. During the crisis, the enterprise delivered food parcels to families in need.

Man smiling at the camera


The Thriving Box Company

Robbie Allen launched The Thriving Box Company to support local businesses by enabling customers to shop for high-quality products such as artisan food, art and coffee, delivered straight to their door.

Man wearing a VR headset



Virti is using its immersive training platform to upskill the NHS workforce to tackle COVID-19, supplying tailored training to frontline healthcare and community staff both in the UK and internationally.

Lab workers standing next to equipment

Oxfordshire & Hampshire

Penlon & Surface Technology International 

Penlon & Surface Technology International (STI) are working with the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium to ramp up ventilator production. By mid-June they had made around 7000 ventilators.

Slices of cake in a box


Black Box Cake

Black Box Cake, an exclusive baking company that delivers delectable cakes in the post, continued to provide their delightful treats to the community by flexing delivery during the crisis. 

Man standing in front of plants


Applegarth Farm

Applegarth Farm transformed overnight from a restaurant to delivering essential fresh produce. The local community offered donations which the farm matched, producing 2,250 food hampers for NHS workers in 6 weeks.

Two people with crates of food
London & South East Education Group


London South East Colleges

London South East Colleges launched its FE Foodback Friday initiative, aimed at supporting people in local communities struggling to afford basic food provisions. Over 30 colleges have raised £40,000.

Woman standing in front of a shop
The Baby Cot Shop


While her shop was closed during lockdown, Toks Aruoture of luxury baby boutique The Baby Cot Shop created video consultations to provide advice and support to her community of parents.

Woman holding up a bottle of gin


Brighton Gin

The team at Brighton Gin jumped on their pushbikes to deliver products, while also pivoting production to hand sanitiser. For every unit sold, two have been donated to front line workers. 

People working on equipment in a brewery
Double-Barrelled Brewery


Double-Barrelled’s beer, Applause, was produced as a thank you to key workers, with donations made to the NHS Charities Together. The brewery provided contactless donation collection for the Reading foodbank.

Man handling equipment in a laboratory


University of Dundee

The University of Dundee has been offering its scientific and technological expertise, providing robots for the national diagnostic centre as well as assistance with anti-inflammatory drug trialling and reopening dental services.

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Ingenica Solutions

East Hampshire

Ingenica Solutions provided visibility of stock quantity for inventory at the Nightingale Hospitals through their innovative management system. Their invaluable support helped the NHS to source and distribute PPE.

Person working on equipment in a brewery

North Yorkshire

Ainsty Ales 

When lockdown was first introduced, founder of Ainsty Ales brewery Andy Herrington set up a community drive-thru to provide essential food supplies to the elderly residents of local village Acaster Malbis.  

Hospital bays with beds separated by curtains set up in a sports hall
Architectural Wallsz


Glass interior and partitioning company Architectural Wallsz used Government business support schemes to act quickly, using their expertise to produce partitioned rooms for Nightingale Hospitals.



Border Biscuits

Through its Border Community Support foundation, Border Biscuits donated more than 110,000 sweet treats to NHS and care home staff working across the country during the crisis.



BT responded to the needs of parents and families in lockdown all over the world by creating 70 new 'Skills for Tomorrow' resources, including mini missions and interactive games to help kids learn at home.

Woman carrying a crate containing paper bags
Shipbourne Farmers' Market


Shipbourne Farmers’ Market, normally hosted in a church, introduced a new way for its customers to shop, allowing them to pre-order online from over 20 producers with contactless collection.

Two people in a workshop handling materials
TRB Lightweight Structures


TRB Lightweight Structures redeployed its staff and machinery to produce reusable face visors for hospitals and care homes, pivoting production in just seven days and producing around 1,000 face shields per week.

People handling boxes at the back of a lorry
MornFlake Cereal


Food company MornFlake Cereal is an active part of the Defra Care Parcel Scheme and provided 2.2 million food packs for vulnerable people across the UK.

People stood around crates of food
Troia, Westminster Kitchen, Cucina


The owner of restaurants Troia, Westminster Kitchen and Cucina, founded the Kebab Alliance to provide food to London hospitals. Over 10,000 meals have been created for NHS workers.

Man holding components of face visors
K Sharp 


K Sharp, a human sciences research company, lent their 3D printing machine to produce desperately needed PPE at short notice.

Man standing in front of a portrait


Managing Director of British watch company Fears forfeited his own salary and took on shifts at his local Asda supermarket to ensure he could continue to support staff and suppliers.

Creative Technology

West Sussex

Creative Technology have dedicated the processing power capacity of its media servers to scientific research – setting up a server farm to support the Folding@Home project run by Stanford University.



Holborn Community Association

Holborn Community Association adapted their regular sport, play and art activities to support over 350 people with doorstep help, telephone befriending and online virtual art activities for all ages.  

Nottingham Trent University


Produce from Nottingham Trent University’s vertical farm was donated during the pandemic. Tracy’s Street Kitchen received pak choi, spinach, swiss chard and lettuce to help feed the homeless.

The Landmark Trust


The Landmark Trust provided NHS frontline workers with a stress-free haven to reduce their accommodation worries, helping them to relocate safely whilst protecting their families.

Man smiling at the camera


One Year No Beer

One Year No Beer helped to tackle alcohol consumption during lockdown by offering their 28-day challenge for free, with the team sacrificing their own salary for three months.

Man holding up bottles of hand sanitizer
Taxi Spirit Co


When coronavirus hit, rum manufacturer Taxi Spirit Co switched its production to hand sanitiser, producing and distributing over 5,000 bottles free to local healthcare organisations.

Man stood in a distillery
Penderyn Distillery

Rhondda Cynon Taff and

the Brecon Beacons 

Welsh malt whisky distillery company Penderyn has been supplying high-quality hand sanitisers and has made donations to several local charities.

Child cleaning their hands at a hand sanitiser station



Playdale, manufacturer of outdoor children’s playground equipment, held an innovation challenge to help with the opening of play areas, developing the world’s first outdoor, no-touch, automatic hand sanitiser station.

People sat outside a pub
The Ramblers Guest House


The Ramblers Guest House is preparing new measures to keep customers safe as easing of lockdown takes place in July, including sanitisation in every guest room and socially distanced breakfast options.

People watching an outdoor concert
Sound Level Events


Sound Level Events delivered the UK's first Drive In Live Music Event in Southampton. Music lovers were able to see their favourite musicians perform alongside rising talents, all while social distancing.

A can of Camden Heroes beer


Camden Town Brewery

Camden Town Brewery rebranded its signature Camden Hells lager as Camden Heroes, with proceeds going to charity and free beers for NHS heroes.

Woman smiling at the camera
This Mum Runs


The founder of This Mum Runs encouraged her 80,000-strong Facebook community of runners to help deliver prescriptions to  elderly and vulnerable people shielding in Bristol.

Bottles on a production line
Wax Lyrical


Home fragrance brand Wax Lyrical transformed the business from producing candles and reed diffusers to creating 70%-alcohol hand sanitisers and fragrance surface sprays.

Man stood behind a table with bottles of steriliser


William Morris

William Morris London immediately diversified its product range to include safety equipment for opticians providing emergency and essential eyecare to patients, including extending its PPE range with eyewear UV steriliser.

Man stood in front of banners and signage
Anchor Magnets


Sheffield-based Anchor Magnets have created workplace safety screens and signage that can be repurposed as social distancing measures change. They have also created fridge magnets to raise money for the NHS.

Woman smiling at the camera


To help her business community post-COVID-19, Roz Colthart, founder of co-working hub Salon Studios, has launched Salonpreneur, a free digital platform that will support self-employed salon professionals.

Man stood in front of a van


Sign Link

Sign Link founder and sign maker Sam McClean decorated shop fronts and vehicles with balloon-shaped stickers to thank the NHS. Sticker sales have now raised over £100,000 for NHS charities.

Woman holding a paper bag in one hand and beauty products in the other hand
Lauren Ezekiel


Essex-based Lauren Ezekiel launched the ‘We C U 2020’ campaign, which has seen over 300,000 beauty products donated and distributed to NHS workers in more than 200 hospitals across the country.

Woman holding an iPad and an iPhone


CARDMEDIC was set up to help hospital staff communicate with patients through their PPE by using a digital flashcard system. It now has over 35,000 users in 120 countries.

Bottles of handrub formulation


Leith Distillery

Leith Distillery flexed its usual gin and whiskey production to produce hand sanitiser for the local community. To cope with the demand, they had to use their distinctive gin bottles as containers.

People handling boxes of pasta
Countryside Properties

Nationwide, England

Countryside Properties established a £1m charitable fund as a vital financial lifeline for food banks, charities, community groups and housing associations, highlighting its commitment to building communities.

Person sat at a computer


CEL-UK supported users of its 3D Robox printers by helping to create much-needed PPE equipment with approved designs from the NHS.

People wearing beekeeper suits and facemasks at a restaurant


Inception Group

At London-based hospitality company Inception Group, alongside work to reopen safely they have launched a £25,000 bar tab spread across their eclectic venues for NHS workers.

People working in a production room
Robert PD Frost & Co


Robert PD Frost & Co made its work environment COVID-19 secure using portable enclosures manufactured in-house. Staff could then continue working throughout the crisis, without furloughing or making any redundancies.

People holding a booklet


Spiffy partnered with designer Angela Chick to create the ‘Anxious Minds in Uncertain Times’ planner, pledging to donate £2 from each sale to NHS charities supporting the COVID-19 response.

People stood in front of a van


Ulster University

Ulster University's Community Fellows have been delivering grow boxes in the local community. The University has also donated laptops to local primary schools to help with teaching from home.

Woman stood in front of a shop
Mrs Johnson's Emporium of Wool and Haberdashery


Blackpool-based Mrs Johnson's Emporium of Wool and Haberdashery worked with its customers to make thousands of facemasks, ear-savers and kit bags for keyworkers as well as toys for children throughout lockdown.

Woman stood in front of a university building
Newcastle University


Medical students at Newcastle University set up the North East’s ‘Helping Hands’ initiative, giving health workers free assistance with childcare, shopping and animal care.

Two people boxing


Dave Earle, Spit'n'Sawdust boxing gym

Boxer, trainer and mental health mentor Dave Earle's Spit'n'Sawdust boxing gym in Banbury has been providing free online fitness and wellbeing classes for NHS workers throughout lockdown.

Woman holding up two bottles of handrub
Loch Ness Spirits


Lorien and Kevin Cameron-Ross of Loch Ness Spirits were quick to pivot their operations when COVID-19 struck, donating hand sanitiser made at the distillery to local frontline workers. 

Woman sat at a desk
Ness Labs


Ness Labs quickly built an online learning platform to provide customers with their neuroscience-based virtual training and services. From an initial customer base of 50, the platform now has over 500 learners.

Block Blinds


Person cleaning a seatbelt in a car



HORIBA MIRA supported the national effort by providing the NHS with 3D printers to produce face shields for carers and offered free use of its Proving Ground for customers.

Two cars
Jim Reid Vehicle Sales


Jim Reid Vehicle Sales loaned three cars to the North East Rider Volunteers Scotland, who have been giving lifts to NHS staff who cannot use public transport to get to work.

People working in a production facility
Bloc Blinds


Northern Ireland-based Bloc Blinds repurposed its production line from blinds to PPE equipment, producing 22,000 FaceShields per day in the first week to help support the fight against COVID-19.

Doctor with a bike