Ex-McLaren chief Ron Dennis has set up a new initiative to deliver one million free meals to NHS workers throughout the UK over the next three months.
Dennis, who led McLaren’s Formula 1 team for almost four decades before being ousted in 2017, is working with his own foundation, DreamChasing, and several other partners including retailer Tesco, Absolute Taste – a company Dennis co-founded – Yodel and others that will provide high-quality meals to NHS workers during the current pandemic.
Dennis has set up SaluteTheNHS.org and donated £1 million to get the ball rolling to support NHS workers who can’t leave their clinical areas and are therefore finding it difficult to feed themselves whilst on shift.
Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Dennis said: “Looking at what other people were doing I thought this was such a huge problem it needed a really scaled up activity to try and match the challenge.
“I decided with my children, who are part of my foundation, to really step up to the plate and use my rolodex, as they say in America, to contact chief executives that I know throughout business and try to really mount a B2B business target approach.
“We set ourselves a huge target, a million [meals] in three months. We built together in ten days one of the biggest infrastructures with some very unique abilities. Working with the hospital we can identify those members of the national health who are physically ill and we will be delivering to their door through Yodel a five-day food pack.
“There’s different types of food packs, we call it the Boost Pack which goes to the wards. All of the key front-liners, the anaesthetists, the intensive carers and the A&E are clinically held in their areas. They cannot move between normal hospital rooms, they can’t go to the restaurant, so we are taking the restaurant to them.”
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis added: “Ensuring families have access to the shopping essentials they need, safely, has been our priority over the last few weeks, and so we’re pleased to now be able to help front line NHS workers by donating food and ingredients to provide them with one million meals through SalutetheNHS.org.
“COVID-19 has reminded the country of the critical role of essential workers, and on behalf of Tesco colleagues, we would like to sincerely thank NHS staff for all they are doing.”
The scheme starts on Monday (April 6) with the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and will then expand further afield over the coming days and weeks.