Mail Force, a new charity set-up by the Daily Mail, has bought £1m worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be given to the NHS and other care workers.
Details were announced on the front page of today’s newspaper. If it raises more money than is needed for equipment, it will apply funds to support the work of the NHS in other ways.
Mail Force was set up by the Daily Mail in partnership with asset management company Marshall Wace – each providing at least £1m to the campaign – and with Salesforce, the US enterprise software company.
Marc Benioff, co-founder of Salesforce has agreed to match-fund these donations, creating an initial fund of £4m.
The Rothermere Foundation has given a further £150,000, while the Rothermere/Harmsworth family has donated an additional £100,000. Viscount Rothermere owns the Daily Mail.
Mail Force and the newspaper are also urging members of the public to donate to a Virgin Money Giving page. So far this page has raised over £40,000.
‘This is not a symbolic gesture’
The Daily Mail said that its first delivery of PPE would be handed to the NHS today and that it was working to secure more items from providers.
Robert Hardman, a columnist for the newspaper, wrote: “Last night, the campaign’s first airliner arrived from China, touching down at Heathrow packed with 20 tons of PPE worth just over £1m.
“That equates to 50,000 hospital coveralls – head-to-toe protective suits – and 100,000 Type II surgical masks.
“This morning, all of it will be in a convoy of trucks – including Daily Mail delivery vans – heading for the Midlands and the NHS’s main depot. There, it will be instantly allocated to all those who need it most at any given moment and despatched to hospitals across the UK.
“At the same time, our partners and associates here and all over the world will be working on filling another plane. And then another. This is neither a symbolic gesture, nor a one-off.”
The charity was registered with the Charity Commission on 24 April - last Friday.
It has three trustees including James Welsh, group finance and operations director at DMG Media, the parent company for the Daily Mail.
The Commission said it is prioritising new applications to register charities where time is crucial due to the current situation.
A spokesperson said: “We are currently prioritising our response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis and its impact on the charity sector – and this includes our handling of applications to register as a charity.
“All applications to register a new charity supporting those affected by coronavirus are assessed and assigned to a case officer in our registration team within 24 hours. These applications undergo the same rigorous scrutiny that we apply to all our registration assessments, but we are prioritising them, mindful that charitable responses to Covid-19 are time-sensitive and in many cases must progress at pace.
“10% of all applications received by the Commission last year were assessed as charitable at the point of submission and were registered within 48 hours. The time taken to register the remainder of applications received vary depending on the quality of the application and the complexity of the issues presented.”