Independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame has named Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) as its Charity of the Year for 2024/25.

KSS is the local air ambulance charity for Kent, Surrey and Sussex. KSS’s helicopters are flying emergency rooms for millions of people who live in and travel across Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex 24/7, 365 days a year. When there’s a life-or-death call, they bring specialised doctors, paramedics and treatment to the scene, fast.

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, which oversees Shepherd Neame’s charity initiatives and donations, will be working closely with KSS to organise fundraising and promotional activities at the Faversham Brewery and across its 300-strong pub and hotel estate throughout the next 12 months. 

These will include a pledge to donate 50p from every Kids’ Meal Deal sold on its Menu for Minis to KSS. Working with the charity Pennies, the digital charity box, Shepherd Neame will also be inviting customers drinking and dining at selected pubs to make a 25 pence donation when they spend over £25 by card. Every penny given goes to charity: 90% to KSS and 10% to Pennies. 

Shepherd Neame has already got its fundraising for KSS off to a great start, as 22 team members, including Chief Executive Jonathan Neame, took part in the recent Lake District Ultra Challenge. Setting off from Kendal they ran, walked and jogged 100K, 50K or 25K, raising almost £8,000.

During the partnership KSS will also be helping to organise education and prevention-focused activities in Shepherd Neame pubs and hotels. This will include activities such as CPR awareness training around Restart a Heart Day in October this year, helping to create more lifesavers in communities across the region. There will also be fun-packed quiz and bingo nights.

Jonathan Neame said “When choosing our new Charity of the Year partner for 2024/25, we wanted to work with an organisation that really makes a difference to the communities we serve, and KSS does just that. 

“When I recently visited their Redhill site to meet Chief Executive David Welch and his team, I was incredibly impressed by their passion, skill and dedication. Every pound that Shepherd Neame donates to this fantastic charity will literally help their team to save more lives, so we will be doing everything we can to raise as much money for them as possible. We are really looking forward to working with KSS during the coming year.”

David Welch, Chief Executive of KSS, said: “We are delighted and extremely proud to be partnering with Shepherd Neame, a highly successful, locally based business that shares in our values and proudly supports the communities we both serve. We’re looking forward to working closely together to raise vital awareness and funds for our lifesaving work, as well as helping to equip and train Shepherd Neame employees and customers with skills such as CPR so that together we can save even more lives.

“It costs over £51K per day to operate our lifesaving service, and as a charity we can only keep flying and saving lives thanks to the generosity of people right across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. We are incredibly grateful to Shepherd Neame for supporting KSS and we’re looking forward to working with everyone at the company and its customers over the coming year.”

Find out more about Sheps Giving at   

Bel & The Dragon introduces Grassroots beef onto its menus

Bel & The Dragon is delighted to announce that it is introducing Grassroots beef onto its menus. Grassroots beef is farmed using methods that have less of an impact on the planet. 

Grassroots beef will be used in the majority of the beef dishes on the Bel & The Dragon menus. Founded by Alastair Trickett, James Evans and James Daniel, Grassroots is a collective of farmers that provides a supply of beef from farms that have been audited and certified to Grassroots’ regenerative farming standards. Grassroots beef is independently assessed using the Farm Carbon Toolkit – which measures carbon emissions. The toolkit found that beef from Grassroots farms produces half the amount of carbon compared with typical beef herds in the UK.

Grassroots incorporates six principles within its standards – including animal welfare and protecting the local environment. When farmed following all six principles, the beef produced not only has less impact on the planet, but it is also extremely high quality – elevating Bel & The Dragon’s premium dishes, such as its beef short rib crumpet. 

The Grassroots beef on the menus at Bel & The Dragon is supplied through Thorner’s – a master butchers that provide the finest cuts of meat, which are ethically sourced and traceable from sustainable farms. Thorner’s parent company, Hunt’s Food Group, is a certified B Corp.

Oliver Rosevear, Fuller’s Sustainability Director, said: “I’m so excited to see Grassroots beef on Bel & The Dragon menus. Beef accounts for over a quarter of our Scope 3 carbon emissions – so it’s important to look at how we can continue to serve our customers the high-quality dishes they expect, while reducing our impact on the planet. 

“As an organisation, we have a responsibility to support our customers’ own sustainability journeys by lowering the environmental impact of the food we serve to them. We have worked closely with our suppliers for years to always offer our customers high quality beef which is locally sourced and reared to high animal welfare standards. One of our values is always asking what’s next? – so with this in mind, we started exploring new technologies and practices to help with our journey to Net Zero. This led to Grassroots and its more sustainable farming practices.

“Fuller’s is committed to achieve Net Zero on or before 2040 – with a commitment to be Net Zero for operational emissions by 2030. In 2021, we joined 27 other hospitality businesses to create the Zero Carbon Forum – and this partnership with Grassroots is a product of that forum. We saw the amazing work it has done with other companies in our sector and were keen to see if we could make it work at Fuller’s.

“Bel & The Dragon is the perfect group of sites to trial Grassroots beef – six beautiful English Inns renowned for premium food and drink. Not only is Grassroots beef good for the planet, but the quality is incredible. As Grassroots beef becomes more readily available to us, we hope to roll it out further across our estate – allowing us to further reduce our carbon emissions.”

Alastair Trickett, co-founder of Grassroots, said: “Seeing Grassroots beef on the Bel & The Dragon menus is hugely exciting. It marks the culmination of months of hard work to build the business case and design the supply route. We’re hugely grateful to the passionate and purposeful leadership within Fuller’s that has made this possible and we hope that where Fuller’s leads, others will follow. We’re all looking forward to seeing where, within the group, our beef will be served next.” 

Daniel Snook, Commercial Director of Hunt’s Food Group, added: “It’s great to work with Grassroots and Fuller’s to help get more sustainable beef on the menus at Bel & The Dragon. We have worked with Fuller’s for a while now and we’re delighted to see that sustainability is so important to the business. Grassroots beef is a great step for Fuller’s to take on its journey to Net Zero. We look forward to seeing where our partnership with Fuller’s and Grassroots will take us next.”