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13th May 2020

Stonegate Area Manager launches Challenge 25

 Stonegate Pub Company’s Area Manager, Mike Donovan-Smith, has launched a new initiative to help support both the mental well-being of his colleagues and their wider communities and the mental health charity, Mind. Dubbed Challenge 25, a play on the industry’s ID policy, the scheme encourages participants to do something outside of their comfort zone 25 times and donate what they can to the charity.

Launching last week, the Challenge 25 Facebook group has already drawn nearly 500 members and raised over £1000 for Mind. People are taking part in various activities, that go from running and cycling challenges, and extend to the slightly more obscure, including a 25-minute Stonegate themed lyric change up cover of George Michael’s Faith.

Donovan-Smith teamed up with three General Managers in his area to organise Challenge 25, Nick Schofield, Sam Stephens and Angela Sinclair, who together hope to raise £25,000 for Mind over the course of the lockdown. They also aim to encourage engagement from Stonegate’s furloughed employees, and their friends and families, and raising awareness of the positive benefits of self-care and exercise.

Mind has described the coronavirus pandemic as a mental health emergency and has launched an appeal to help keep its Infoline available to everyone who needs it during this time. The aim is to ensure there is always someone to talk to when things get too much for people, whether they are in isolation or on frontline as key workers.

Mike Donovan-Smith said: “We decided to organise Challenge 25 after we realised quite how bored we had been getting. You don’t appreciate straight away what isolation does to your mental health, but lethargy sets in and quickly people start to get pretty despondent. We wanted to create something that drove a sense of community and encouraged people to do something different, while also raising money for a good cause.

“We’ve been really amazed by how quickly it has taken off in the last few days! People seem to really enjoy taking part in initiatives that do good and the work the Mind does is incredibly important, especially right now. I feel really good about reaching our target of £25,000.”

To take part in Challenge 25 visit the group’s Facebook page:

To donate to Mind visit the Challenge 25 JustGiving page:

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About Stonegate Pub Company

Following the acquisition of Ei Group on 3rd March 2020 for £1.27bn, Stonegate Pub Company is the largest pub company in the UK.  Its portfolio is comprised of 1270 sites within the managed division and 3457 leased and tenanted businesses.

The managed pubs division, which employs 17,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs. Branded is comprised of: Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout, Be At One and Venues. Traditional (unbranded) pubs is made up of: Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns, Common Room, Craft Union and Bermondsey Pub Group.