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Fri 27th Mar 2020 - Leon spearheads £1m NHS staff fund-raise, City Pub Group raises £15m, Casual Dining 2020 cancelled
Sector operators led by Leon launch £1m fund-raise for NHS staff: A funding campaign spearheaded by natural fast food brand Leon and actors Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory and Matt Lucas, has been launched in an attempt to raise £1m to get 6,000 meals a day to NHS staff on the front line of the pandemic. The #FEEDNHS campaign launched through Just Giving and has already raised more than £125,000. Wasabi, Tortilla, Peach Pubs, Rosa’s Thai, Hop, Pizza Pilgrims, Franco Manca, Farmer J, Tossed, Hache, Abokado and Nusa Kitchen have already joined the not-for-profit initiative. The campaign states: “Some of our heroes are already working 20-hour shifts and these hours will only get longer as the crisis worsens. With cafes and eateries all shut there’s a need to get healthy hot food to the hospitals. We’re spearheading a campaign with Leon to get 6,000 meals a day into London hospitals for critical care staff and hopefully across the nation to feed the NHS. The aim is everyone will get one hot meal a day. We’re starting this initiative in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and UCLH Healthcare NHS Trust and hope others will be inspired to roll it out across the nation. No-one’s making money out of this and any profit will go back into the NHS. If you’re a business that wants to participate, visit to find out more.” The campaign follows the ongoing work of Leon and other brands to support NHS workers. Leon has introduced a 50% discount to NHS teams and committed to donate 100% of profits to the NHS during the crisis. To date, Leon has served almost 20,000 meals to NHS workers at 50% discount. Leon co-founder and chief executive John Vincent said: “We have launched #FEEDNHS because we have been inundated with direct requests from NHS staff and their families asking us to feed them. These amazing people need us. They are already going without sleep. If they don’t have good food, they will burn out faster, function less well and become ill themselves. We hope other restaurant brands will join us in helping them. They deserve all our support for their own sake and for the patients they’re looking after. The hospitality industry is full of wonderful and passionate people. I expect many will want to be part of this action where they can and where they still have the capabilities and facilities.”

City Pub Group raises £15m in share placing: City Pub Group has raised £15m through a share placing to provide the company with additional funds in light of the coronavirus crisis. A total of 30,000,000 new ordinary shares have been issued at a price of 50p per share. Executive chairman Clive Watson said: “We are delighted with the investor support we’ve had at this difficult time. Together with our existing funding arrangements, this significantly strengthens our balance sheet providing a further cushion in the event the suspended environment is extended. The additional funds will also allow improvements to our operational structure during the period of closure and enable us to grow the business and recover shareholder value once pubs are permitted to reopen. We recognise the great support we have had from our people, suppliers, bankers, brokers and advisers and also from government through its aid package, especially regarding employment costs and business rates.” The company aims to raise a further £7m through an open share offer that will see 14,015,634 new ordinary shares issued.

Organiser of Casual Dining and Commercial Kitchen cancels 2020 events: The organiser of Casual Dining and Commercial Kitchen has cancelled both events this year. Diversified Communications UK said the decision followed news Excel in London, which was due to stage both shows, would become a temporary NHS hospital, providing 4,000 beds  The events had been due to take place in July. Casual Dining will now run on 10-11 March 2021, with the dates for Commercial Kitchen to be announced. Diversified UK group event director Chris Brazier said: “With Excel taking on an important role to help the NHS during this national emergency, it became clear we had no option but to cancel the shows until next year. The Casual Dining and Commercial Kitchen teams would like to thank everyone – exhibitors, visitors, partners and suppliers – for their continued support and patience and look forward to seeing them in 2021.”  

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