Independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame has raised £30,000 for its Charity of the Year, FareShare.

FareShare is the UK’s biggest charity tackling the environmental problem of food waste for social good. It works with the food industry to get good to eat food, that might otherwise go to waste, to a network of over 8,000 charities and community groups across the UK.

Shepherd Neame launched its partnership with FareShare in July last year, and fundraising activities by team members at the brewery and across its pub estate have included taking part in the Peak District Ultra Challenge in Dorset, a Brewery Bake Off competition, photography competitions, raffles and quizzes.

As part of its fundraising activities, the company pledged to donate 50p for every Kids’ Meal Deal sold on its new Menu for Minis, which went live in August 2023. It also continues to partner with Pennies, the digital charity box. Customers drinking and dining at selected pubs are invited to make a 25 pence donation when they spend over £25 and pay on a card via Chip & Pin. Every penny given goes to charity: 90% to FareShare and 10% to Pennies.

In addition to raising money for the charity, Shepherd Neame offered team members the opportunity to take time away from their roles to volunteer with FareShare. In April, a group of 10 team members spent the day at The Felix Project, FareShare’s London delivery partner, in Poplar, East London. They undertook tasks including preparing and packing meals, and delivering them to local charities.

It is Shepherd Neame’s fifth Charity of the Year partnership following the relaunch of its Sheps Giving charitable arm in 2018. The Sheps Giving committee co-ordinates the donation of thousands of pounds worth of beer each year, along with vouchers for our pub and hotel estate, to local groups and individuals in support of their fundraising activities.

Shepherd Neame’s Chief Executive Jonathan Neame marked the end of the partnership by visiting the team at FareShare’s warehouse in Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday (June 26) and presenting a cheque to Head of Fundraising Kirsty Ford and Warehouse Manager Emma White.

He said: “We are committed to doing the right thing for our communities, our people and our environment. When we were choosing our charity partner last summer, we wanted to work with an organisation which made a real difference to families and individuals in need, and FareShare does just that. Their ethos also fits with our ongoing efforts throughout the business to limit waste and recycle wherever possible, in line with our pledge to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2025.

“We have been pleased to see our team members and pub partners really get behind the charity during the past 12 months, organising events and offering their time to volunteer, and we are delighted with the amount raised for such a fantastic cause.” 

Kirsty Ford, Head of Fundraising at FareShare said: “We are so grateful to Shepherd Neame for their continued support for FareShare. These invaluable donations help us get good-to-eat food to the people who need it rather than going to waste. Every day, the food we redistribute to a network of over 8,000 charities in every region helps to strengthen communities. From homelessness shelters and afterschool clubs to refuges and older people’s lunch clubs, these groups are all working harder than ever to provide people with a hand up, not a handout.

“Shepherd Neame’s generous support for FareShare – both through donations and time volunteered – is instrumental in helping people affected by the cost of living crisis. This support means charities can unite more people through food to form connections and access essential support services. Thank you for helping FareShare make the food go further.” 

Find out more about Sheps Giving at   

Head of the River reopens

The Head of the River in Folly Bridge, Oxford has reopened following a transformative refurbishment. 

A stunning pub nestled on the banks of the Thames, The Head of the River boasts a bar, riverside dining area and garden, and 19 boutique bedrooms – which have all now reopened with beautiful new décor. 

The bar and dining areas, which reopened earlier in the spring, feature wood panelled walls complemented by comfortable seating and plenty of natural light. Outside, the riverside garden is the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine – while enjoying a tipple from the range of premium beers, wines, spirits and alcohol free options available at the bar.

The bedrooms have all undergone refurbishments – with the addition of modern comforts, including aircon in every room, in a traditional setting. Some of the rooms have also been turned into family rooms, with bunk beds, for those looking to stay with the younger members of their family. The rooms are all named after famous and noble Oxonions – along with their corresponding Oxford college shields. The famous Oxford names include the astronomer, Edmond Halley; Geraldine Jones, the first female Oxford Union President; Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai; and Sir Roger Bannister, neurologist and athlete.

On The Head of the River’s new menu, you’ll find a range of delicious dishes – with seasonal, fresh ingredients. Alongside pub classics such as fish and chips, the menu features grill dishes such as tandoori lamb kebabs, and miso cauliflower and celeriac kebabs – served with a choice of sides. The new brunch menu is also not one to miss – with dishes such as blueberry American pancakes with lemon thyme compote, mascarpone cream and lemon balm. Plus, with a kids’ menu, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.

As part of the refurbishment, The Head of the River is now fully electric – making it Fuller’s first fully electric hotel. To support its journey to Net Zero, Fuller’s is committed to procuring 100% renewable electricity – sourced from wind, solar and hydroelectricity. The kitchen equipment and all other appliances in the pub and hotel are now powered by electricity. The Head of the River is a Green Tourism Bronze Award winner – recognising its excellent sustainable practices.

David Oram, General Manager of The Head of the River, said: “I’m delighted to reopen The Head of the River fully. Our beautiful riverside dining area, bar and garden reopened earlier in the spring and it’s been wonderful seeing so many people back dining and drinking with us. But now we can offer the full experience with newly refurbished bedrooms. They’ve all been transformed and modernised, to offer the highest level of comfort in the heart of Oxford, so make sure you book a night with us – in one of our famous Oxonian rooms. My team and I look forward to welcoming you.”


Thatchers Cider, the Somerset based family cider maker, is pleased to announce the appointment of Eleanor Thatcher to its Board of Directors.

Eleanor is a fifth-generation cider maker who embodies the values and traditions of the 120 year old company, while also bringing a fresh perspective to cider making, sustainability and innovation.

As the next generation, her passion is cidermaking, protecting the environment and ensuring the sustainability of the business for future generations, reducing Thatchers’ carbon footprint and protecting biodiversity.

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker said: “I feel very proud to head up a family business, one that I am delighted to say is fast becoming a fifth-generation cider business. I see it as my duty to ensure when the time is right, I hand down a business that is able to thrive both now and in the future. 

“Eleanor’s appointment brings with it her unique blend of tradition and innovation. Her dedication to our family’s heritage, combined with her forward-thinking approach, makes her an invaluable addition and one I believe will keep us making the best ciders in the world for decades to come.”

Eleanor Thatcher said: “I am honoured to join the Board of Directors at Thatchers Cider. Working in a family business is very special for me; it’s about remembering and cherishing our history whilst at the same time innovating. 

“I have a passion for cider making and I care deeply about Thatchers continuing to make high quality cider that our customers love, whilst also ensuring that we protect the environment for future generations. My role now is to continue what my family has built; making great quality cider, in harmony with nature, for another 120 years.” 

Eleanor Thatcher continues: “As a family company we’ve been working closely with nature for 120-years. And as a fifth-generation cider maker, I am here thanks to the forward thinking and planning of the four generations before me. 

“Since 2010 we have planted 158,000 trees and we plan to plant another 13,000 more next year. From regenerative farming to planting wildflower meadows and working with the Bumblebee Trust to create bee friendly orchards.” 

Every one of Thatchers ciders is made using 100% renewable electricity and even the apple left over once the juice is squeezed is recycled into green energy. They’re constantly reviewing their packaging too, from being the first to replace plastic with sustainably sourced card in 2016, to using lighter cans and saving the equivalent of a whopping 5.9m cans a year. 

Blackheath pub serves up tasty hospitality after £740k refurbishment

If the General Manager of the recently refurbished Crown in Blackheath, Jan Mullerson, seems at home, it’s not surprising, as the pub is a home from home and where he cut his teeth as a barman.

Jan, who took over running the Shepherd Neame pub in the heart of one of London’s last remaining villages following a £750,000 transformation in February, moved to the Blackheath area with his family when he was 12.

Jan Mullerson, General Manager, Crown in Blackheath

He went to school in the area and so he knows just who he is catering for when it comes to running the historic pub which has been completely renovated, redecorated and has a revamped menu.

“It is one of the best decisions I have made in my life, coming back here,” he said.

Jan was enticed into the Shepherd Neame fold, after working at pubs owned by Young’s and Stonegate, by a former colleague.

Starting out in hospitality in Blackheath at the age of 19, Jan admits The Crown was very different when he first worked there and is overjoyed with its new look.

“It’s great that Shepherd Neame have put the investment in here,” he said, adding: “It is beautiful following the renovation.”

The team of 20 he now leads is an even mix of staff who were there before the renovation, and ones who have joined since.

“We have had amazing feedback from everyone who has come in,” he said. “I think we provide the best pub food in the area by far. Our forte is that we make homemade pies in-house – they’ve been very popular.”

And creating that new food offer is New Zealander Chris Duffy, 37, who is Head Chef. Chris began working in a pub when he came to the UK 15 years ago, before moving into the kitchen. Then came an apprenticeship before he worked his way up the ranks to become a Head Chef.

After 15 years with Fuller’s pub company, he made the switch to Shepherd Neame after being attracted by the newly-reopened Crown and a chance to make a fresh impact, and put his own stamp on the menu.

“It must have been the right time for me to make the move – now I’m here, I realise just how ready I was,” he said. “I have been reinvigorated and inspired to get more creative. It is great to be involved and to be able to help make decisions. I’m really enjoying it.

“I love a good pub. Pubs in New Zealand are completely different to English ones. “

The homemade pies he makes have received excellent feedback from customers, and he is enjoying getting a say in creating dishes. 

His own favourite dish to cook at home may not be on the menu any time soon though – beer braised octopus with stout, inspired by his Spanish wife’s cooking.

The five-week refurbishment of The Crown has seen the pub’s traditional heritage celebrated throughout, alongside a fresh, modern take on Edwardian décor, using a rich palette of dark blues, browns mixed with vintage-inspired floral wallpapers. 

It serves homemade bar snacks, lunch plates and pub classics, as well as a wide selection of award-winning craft available on draught, along with lagers, ciders, premium wines and seasonal cocktails.

‘Stay in a Pub Collection’ launches on Useyourlocal

A collaboration between leading pub websites and has been launched in a move to further promote pubs with accommodation, providing a welcome boost to the UK’s visitor economy as we approach the busy summer holiday season.

The collaboration sees Stay in a Pub’s carefully curated collection of boutique pubs, traditional coaching inns, and quality affordable pub accommodation being automatically promoted on Useyourlocal, putting them in front of millions more potential bookers. Each pub gets its own ‘Stay in a Pub badge’ making sure that they stand out to Useyourlocal’s huge audience as one of the very best places to stay. Together with an all-new Stay in a Pub Collection landing page, this now makes it even easier for people to find the very best pubs with accommodation, wherever they’re looking to stay.

‘Stay in a Pub Collection’ Pubfinder on Useyourlocal

Sophie Braybrooke, CEO of Stay in a Pub, said, ‘Stay in a Pub promotes everything that’s brilliant about staying in a Great British pub to both domestic and international visitors alike. Pubs with rooms already love our platform, and promoting member pubs through this exciting new partnership adds even more value to their membership.

Both Stay in a Pub and Useyourlocal are on a mission to drive more people into pubs more often, increasing the amount of time and money people spend in them, and ensuring that pubs remain thriving businesses right at the heart of their local communities. By working together they hope to leverage their combined strength and reach, ultimately encouraging more people to choose pubs when they’re planning their next trip away from home.

To find out more about Stay in a Pub go to

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