Join us for our National Community Business Conference 2024, proudly sponsored by Webmart. With an exciting and packed agenda, it promises to deliver the very best insights and practical advice for community businesses.

The day will include expert speakers, workshops facilitated by specialist advisers and a marketplace for you to meet a range of community business suppliers.

Programme

Speakers – coming soon

Exhibitors – coming soon

Accessibility and Sustainability

Following the success of last year’s conference, we’ll also have more time for networking, ideas sharing and peer learning.

The conference day will run from 9.30am – 4pm, followed by a drinks reception, prior to our Rural Community Business Awards, which will take place from 5 – 7pm.

The Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of rural community-owned businesses, and the ceremony is always a jubilant, feel-good affair. Awards nominations open in June.

A conference ticket also secures your place at the Awards celebration, but you must register so that we can ensure your name is on the list.

To celebrate the conference tickets going on sale, we’ve made a very limited number of tickets available at the special price of £50 + VAT. Plunkett Members get priority booking but once they’re gone, they’re gone – so don’t delay! Use promo code: EARLYBIRD50.

Public booking opens: 30 May

Ticket prices

£125 + VAT – General Admission

£75 + VAT – Plunkett Members

£50 + VAT – Early Birds – strictly limited availability

Location

Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre
108 Stamford Street
London
SE1 9NH

A community-owned conference venue on London’s South Bank.

Programme – Wed 23 October 2024

  • 9.00am Registration and Exhibition Open

  • 9.30am Welcome and Overview

Claire Spendley, Plunkett UK’s Head of Community Business, welcomes you to the conference, provides an outline of the day and introduces our headline sponsor, Webmart.

Sponsored by:

  • 9.40am Opening Keynote Address (details coming soon)

  • 10.35am Breakout Sessions 1

The environmental and economic benefits of sourcing locally and ethically are indisputable – and can lead to reduced costs, customer growth and a better reputation for your business. Hear our panel of experts discuss why ethical sourcing is a must, and how community shops and pubs have taken steps to improve their own supply chains.

Chair: Laura Olver, Membership and Training Manager, Plunkett UK

Speaker: Lauren Culf, Buying Coordinator, Suma

Sponsored by:

Tackling climate change is high on the agenda for many community-owned businesses, but every community and business is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to climate action. In this interactive workshop, Utility Aid will present practical ideas and options for making your business more environmentally sustainable, from behaviour changes that could save you money to how an energy audit could help.

Chair: Susie Middleton, Project Manager, Plunkett UK

Speaker: Emily Berry, Utility Aid

Further speakers to be announced soon

Sponsored by:

Community ownership requires community engagement! Your community are not just customers, but partners, ensuring that your decision-making process is equitable and your business serves the community most effectively. Whether you’re starting out or looking to grow your business, this workshop will help you understand why community engagement is important and how you can increase it by making it fun.

Workshop spaces are limited to 25 and must be booked in advance.

Facilitator: Misty Bower, Community Business Adviser, Plunkett UK

  • 11.20am Break and Exhibition

  • 11.50am Breakout Sessions 2

Across the UK, community-owned businesses are creating valuable volunteering, training and employment opportunities for people from all walks of life. This panel discussion will explore how creating inclusive opportunities can benefit your organisation and create wider social and economic impacts beyond your own community business.

Chair: Harriet English, Head of Engagement, Plunkett UK

Speakers:
Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive, Disability Rights

Veda Harrison FRSA, Director, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Further speakers announced soon

Ensuring long-term success for your community business requires a growth mindset. In this workshop, we will outline how investing in activities that increase social, economic and environmental impact can support business growth. You’ll hear from community business and Plunkett partner Charity Bank will outline how loan finance helped them to achieve their goals.

Speakers:
Nick Comley, Community Business Adviser, Plunkett UK

Carolyn Sims, Director of Lending, Charity Bank

Further speakers announced soon

Sponsored by:

The second of our workshops on financing your community business for growth and impact will focus on how crowdfunding and community shares can be useful tools to raise funds that enable you to grow and diversify your business; and how planning for the future can help to ensure your business continues to thrive long-term. 

Speakers announced soon

Running a profitable business sometimes involves making tough decisions – to protect the business in the immediate term, and to plan for its long-term future. This interactive workshop will highlight key issues that you need to consider to ensure your community-owned business continues to thrive – from opening hours and profit-margins to risk management and committee succession.

Workshop spaces are strictly limited to 25 and must be booked in advance.

Facilitator announced soon.

Committees are the backbone of societies, they are crucial in moving tasks forward and achieving goals. They are drawn from the membership to represent the membership and to move the project forward which means there is a lot of trust given to them and a lot of pressure on them from their community.  In this session we will look at the role of the committee and how they interact and manage their roles and how they can work effectively. Many committees are small and as a result need everyone contributing their share of the work. We will explore how to work together to bring together different viewpoints and perspectives and personalities to achieve a common aim and the art of cooperation, collaboration and communication.  Effective committees don’t just happen – they are a combination of a good purpose, a good leader, and good members.

Workshop spaces are limited to 25 and must be booked in advance.

Facilitator: Alison Macklin, Community Business Manager, Plunkett UK

  • 1.00pm Lunch and Exhibition

  • 2.05pm Breakout Sessions 3

Are you sure your CBS is complying with governance and regulatory requirements? Come along to this intimate panel discussion and hear experts outline your responsibilities in relation to annual returns, annual accounts, governance, community shares and management of members and shareholders.

Chair: Diane Cameron, Project Manager, Plunkett UK

Speakers:
David Alcock, Partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors

Andy Freeman, Head of Department, Financial Conduct Authority

Further speakers announced soon

Sponsored by:

This small, interactive workshop will introduce you to the concept of measuring your social return on investment (SROI), and provide a methodology for how you can quantify the difference you are making in your community.

This session is aimed at trading community businesses. Workshop spaces are limited to 25 and must be booked in advance.

Facilitator: Nick Comley, Community Business Adviser, Plunkett UK

  • 3.00pm Plenary session
    Community business: Picking up the pieces and building new communities

Community-owned businesses were once seen as a tool to respond to market failure, and a way to save village shops and pubs that would otherwise be lost. During this session, Chris Cowcher, Head of Policy & Communications at Plunkett UK, will chair a panel of expert speakers exploring the changing narrative of community ownership, and how these innovative, inclusive businesses are creating real impact as a proactive force for good.

Chair: Chris Cowcher, Head of Policy & Communications, Plunkett UK

Speaker announcements coming soon

  • 3.40pm Summary and Thanks

An opportunity to hear a summary of the key points from all sessions held across the day, and to thank our partners, speakers and sponsors.

  • 4.00pm Drinks and Networking

  • 5.00pm Rural Community Business Awards begins

  • 6.00pm Sparkling drinks and nibbles

  • 7.00pm Close

Access

Coin Street is fully accessible. Please visit the venue website for access information and let us know your access requirements at time of booking.

Please note that there is a public car park in the basement of the venue, and it may be possible to reserve disabled parking. We are committed to ensuring that the conference is accessible to all and will provide free tickets for carers/companions to those who need them.

Sustainability

Plunkett UK is committed to tackling climate change. Please visit the venue website to view its environmental credentials.

Contact

If you have a specific question about the day or need assistance with booking, please contact our Membership Team. Email membership@plunkett.co.uk or call 01993 630022.

Public booking opens: 30 May