Shepherd Neame chose RBLI as its Charity of the Year last October, and had planned an extensive calendar of fundraising activities at the brewery and across its pub estate during the past 12 months. This was put on hold due to the impact of the pandemic, however, which saw pubs closed for three months and the majority of Shepherd Neame’s head office staff working from home. The brewery has therefore decided to extend its Charity of the Year partnership with RBLI until the end of December 2021.
Based near the brewery at Aylesford near Maidstone, RBLI is a national charity supporting not only British Armed Forces veterans, but civilian men and women of all ages, specifically those with disabilities and the long-term unemployed. It aims to support its beneficiaries to find work and lead independent lives.
Facilities at the RBLI Village in Aylesford include a purpose-built nursing home, supported living apartments and emergency accommodation. There is also the Base Camp community centre and café used not only by RBLI beneficiaries but the local Aylesford community.
The Village is also home to RBLI’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC). More than 70% of BBMC staff have a disability, health condition or have an Armed Forces background, and produce road signs, wood pallets and fulfilment projects. Shepherd Neame has supported the social enterprise with extensive orders for Covid-19 safety signage for its pubs and hotels during the past months, totalling more than £50,000.
Chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “In addition to raising money for this worthy cause during the year, we had hoped that our staff would be able to donate their time though volunteering opportunities at the RBLI Village. We were also planning to offer practical support for the RBLI beneficiaries in the form of work placements and mentoring at the brewery and around our pub estate. We hope that by extending our partnership, we will be able to accomplish this programme of activity in the coming months.”
As part of its fundraising activities, at the start of this year Shepherd Neame teamed up with Pennies, the digital charity box. Customers drinking and dining at selected sites are invited to make a 25 pence donation to charity when they spend over £30 and pay on a card via Chip & Pin. Every penny given goes to charity: 90% to RBLI and 10% to Pennies, with almost £9,000 raised so far. To celebrate the extension of the partnership, Pennies was rolled out to another 14 Shepherd Neame sites this week: Bricklayers Arms, Bromley; The Crown, Blackheath; The Crown, Rochester; Bishops Finger, Canterbury; George and Dragon, Thames Ditton; Kings Arms, Dorking; Market House, Maidstone; Pier Five, Chatham; The Restoration, Sevenoaks; Shakespeare, Canterbury; Singleton Barn, Ashford ; The Star Inn, Guildford; Ye Olde Beverlie, Canterbury; Ye Olde Whyte Lion, Orpington.
Steve Sherry CMG OBE, RBLI’s Chief Executive, said: “Despite the many challenges faced by the hospitality sector over recent months, Shepherd Neame never forgot their commitment to support vulnerable veterans and people with disabilities through our partnership together. Whether it’s the innovative penny donation scheme or buying a whole range of Covid-19 safety signage from our social enterprise factory for use in their pubs across Kent, they have made a genuine difference to those we support at this difficult time. This continued support throughout the pandemic has been invaluable to us and we are elated that this partnership will continue well into next year, so that together we can continue to improve the lives of those who need it most.”
For the full list of Pennies sites, and to find out more about Sheps Giving, visit www.shepherdneame.co.uk/sheps-giving
For more information about the RBLI visit www.rbli.co.uk.
About RBLI (Royal British Legion Industries)
Established in 1919, Royal British Legion Industries is an independent national charity aiming to provide employment, training and support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependents; as well as those with a disability or health condition and those who have been long term unemployed.
Royal British Legion Industries is a separate charity from Royal British Legion but has a shared ethos of supporting the Armed Forces community.
Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC)
RBLI’s social enterprise which directly employs over 100 people, more than 70% of whom are veterans, have a disability or both. We manufacture a range of products for both the public and private sector. The enterprise reinvests its surplus meaning that even more employment opportunities are available for injured or impaired ex-forces personnel and people with disabilities and health conditions.
Press release from Shepherd Neame