The only face-to-face conference for every rural community business

Thursday 6 July
IET Birmingham, Austin Court

Sponsored by

Plunkett Conference 2023 is sponsored by Bestway Wholesale

We want you to join community businesses, industry experts, specialist business advisers and sector partners for a lively day of inspiring talks and workshops.

Facing the Future: Together boasts a packed programme of high profile speakers, interactive workshops and one-to-one advice surgeries covering the topics that we need to explore. You’ll get up-to-date on best practices and new approaches to help your community business increase volunteer engagement, improve your finances and maximise your social impact.

Most importantly, you’ll meet, share experiences with and learn from other community business leaders from across the UK.

With a full programme on offer, you could bring your fellow committee members, business manager, tenant or keen volunteers and make it a team away day.

The conference is friendly, welcoming and informative for everyone

The day of learning and networking will focus on how community businesses can face the future, together. Keynote sessions, expert panels and interactive workshops will address the priority areas in Plunkett’s five-year strategy, examining how community businesses can:

  • Provide a wider range of services that communities need and value
  • Stimulate the local economy through localised supply chains
  • Boost opportunities for employment, training and volunteering, particularly benefitting those who are most disadvantaged and excluded in today’s society
  • Offset climate change through environmentally-friendly practices
  • Harness digital technologies to enhance business performance
  • Promote diversity and inclusion by creating a safe and welcoming space for all

“I’m really excited to be able to bring community businesses together to learn from each other and share experiences, after such a prolonged period of change and challenge, for the first Plunkett conference since 2019. While we understand that the communities we work with are still navigating a challenging operating environment, we know that community businesses up and down the UK are pulling together to make a genuine, positive impact for local people – and we want to share these stories and inspire those involved in community business to see the opportunities they have to make a difference” – Claire Spendley, Head of Community Business at Plunkett Foundation

Are you involved in a community business? Then this event is for you!

Designed in collaboration with Plunkett Foundation members, the programme includes a mix of sessions to appeal to community businesses of all shapes and sizes; from new groups to well-established and trading, from all corners of the UK, and for all business types.

As well as being relevant for committee members, the conference is a great opportunity to offer professional development to your staff or tenant, and to encourage volunteers who may be considering a committee role. You could book as a group to make the most of the different topics and sessions (see our ticket offers!).

“Plunkett plays an important role in encouraging community businesses to run as thriving, sustainable businesses, to ensure they are competitive, and invest in their people. There is no substitute for coming face-to-face to discuss these issues” – Sam Ross, Plunkett Member and Secretary at Farmborough Community Shop

All Plunkett members get at least 20% off.

Community Business Members save even more on group bookings; pay less than half the standard price for every additional ticket you book!

Programme and Event Information

The conference marketplace is sponsored by Bestway Wholesale

Bestway Wholesale logo

Bestway Wholesale offers retailers and caterers a comprehensive range of products and promotions at sector-leading prices, unparalleled availability and customer service which is second to none.

With thanks to all our marketplace exhibitors

With over 200 years’ experience serving drinks to people, LTC can help you get back to your best, whatever you’re going through.Whether you’re a server or sous-chef, bartender or brewer, The Licensed Trade Charity is always here when you need a little TLC, be it emotional support, specialist guidance or financial grants. With over 200 years’ experience serving drinks people, LTC can help you get back to your best, whatever you’re going through. Call our free 24/7 helpline on 0808 801 0550.

Clear Brew provides a fully managed beer line cleaning service to thousands of premises nationwide. Our experienced technicians maintain dispense quality across keg and cask lines on an extended frequency. During each visit, your Clear Brew technician will carry out a line clean and cellar check to ensure your products and equipment are kept in top condition.
The Clear Brew system comprises of a water-fed mixing unit that uses no electricity or propellant gas, combined with inhibitor technology and market-leading chemicals. This labour inclusive service is guaranteed to save you money, reduce waste and improve the quality of draught products.

Image Retail Solutions Ltd is a long established supplier of EPOS solutions to the retail and hospitality marketplace. Our flagship ProEPOS system is used in over 500 stores across the UK and benefits from over 20 years of development and user feedback.
Our new POS Core EPOS system utilises cutting-edge cloud technology to provide a low cost, scalable solution based on the robust & lightweight Android platform.
Our systems are used in a range of sectors including convenience stores, charity shops, off licences, fashion boutiques, specialist goods shops, garden centres and many more besides.
Our flexible commercial model provides for no/low upfront cost to suit almost any budget and size of business.

David Cadwallader & Co are the chosen membership partners of The Plunkett Foundation for all accountancy and bookeeping requirements. We assist over a 100 community businesses with their year-end accounting and corporation tax compliance responsibilities as well as carrying out payroll services, VAT compliance and planning work and software support services. We are fully conversant with the requirements of both Companies House and the FCA and have worked with the sector for over a decade.

We only have one planet, and Splosh is on a mission to find innovative ways to protect it – finding better ways of living everyday life with their great range of vegan, cruelty-free home, health, and beauty products. Every bottle sold is refillable with concentrated refill pouches, meaning customers can reduce their single use plastic. Customers can also go that one step further and return their empty pouches in store. Splosh upcycles them into new products, meaning nothing gets wasted, which is a huge win for the planet and a great example of the circular economy in action. Our range includes home essentials like laundry liquid, washing up liquid, surface cleaners, hand wash and shower gel. All Splosh products are cruelty free, mainly plant derived and septic tank friendly.

MCFT food equipment service specialists maintain commercial kitchens around England and Wales, offering preventative, reactive and remedial response and equipment replacement where appropriate.MCFT service and maintain commercial kitchens around the UK, the core areas of our business are Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM), Callouts, Remedial works and equipment supply.We have worked with a number of Plunkett Members throughout the UK donating Kitchen equipment and making repairs.Pre-loved equipment scheme, where good condition kitchen equipment is donated to Plunkett members, often at no cost, with 3 months parts warranty and 12 months labourPreferential rates on kitchen maintenance servicing.

Co-operative & Community Finance is the Lender for Social Purpose, and have been lending to ethical businesses since 1973. As long time partners of the Plunkett Foundation, they have acted as lending partner to the current More than a Pub Programme and the previous Village CORE scheme. They provide loan finance to a range of organisations and community businesses that are democratically owned controlled by their members. Over the years they have provided hundreds of loans to community businesses and co-operatives of all shapes and sizes, and have become a specialist lender to Community Shops, Pubs, Hubs and Community Food and Farming in particular.

WALX is an award-winning organisation that has worked with over 200 community projects across the UK. We provide a bespoke, full turnkey programme that gets results – for physical health and fitness, for mental wellbeing and for social interaction. WALX  empowers communities to set up and run low-cost fitness walking clubs for community health and wellbeing. With 20 years’ experience providing training, support and the tools to run a successful fitness walking club, we can help you set up a local club to bring health and fitness to your community. Don’t think Ramblers; picture bringing an outdoor health club to your community, providing all the health and fitness benefits and more but without requiring the cost or space of a gym. With national partnerships, we can support your WALX venture and assist in accessing funding.

Monopoly Insurance Services Ltd are one of the UK’s fasted growing leisure and hospitality insurance brokers insuring over 4,000 licensed premises with A rated capacity. Our experience is not only in insurance but also in running licensed establishments – three members of the Monopoly team have previously run their own pubs. We have also had an input into the development of our insurance packages to ensure maximum cover at the best possible premium. We’re able to accommodate all types of business insurance requirements that you may have.

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank for charities, social enterprises and people who want to make the world a better place. It uses its savers’ money to provide much needed loans to UK organisations working to drive positive social change – bringing benefits for people, communities and the environment.Since 2002, Charity Bank has made more than 1100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations. Charity Bank is owned by social purpose organisations and aims to use its expertise, commitment and flexible approach to lending, to help charities and social enterprises get the support and funding they need.

Holleys are a national premium grocery wholesaler serving the community retail sector since 1970.Holleys provide access to a complete range of premium groceries, and often fit in as second-main supplier after your mainstream wholesaler.Our range is unique – you’ll find complete ranges of well-known brands, local producers and hard-to-find products too. We operate our own transport fleet across England and Wales which enables us to provide a weekly, handball delivery service into your storeroom. Let us be your stock room!  Everything in our catalogue is a stocked product and our availability is excellent – 98%.Being a family-owned business we understand the importance of a reliable, personal service, often lost in this age.  Call our friendly sales team to open an account on 0117 938 0084.

Suma is a wholefood collective founded in 1977 by a liberally-minded group of people who believed there was a better way, and actively set out to create it. Today we are stronger than ever. As a wholesaler we deliver over 7,000 vegetarian, natural, responsibly sourced products to businesses and communities across the UK and internationally. And our much-loved Suma food, body care and home cleaning products number over 1,000, so you can easily choose delicious and sustainable products from people you can trust. We’re also happy to say we’re Europe’s largest equal pay co-op. You can’t say fairer than that!

Zero Waste Refill Hub is a one-step solution for plastic free shopping installation. At Zero Waste Refill Hub, we provide you with guidance in setting up a package free bulk food and liquid refill departments. Our goal is to encourage people to avoid food waste, recycle more and raise awareness of environmental waste issues and behavioural changes. This can also benefit your customers as it saves money by buying products in bulk.  This will be a great business opportunity with healthy margins!

The Co-operative Party is the party of the UK co-operative movement. Founded in 1917, we’re working to create a society and economy where power and wealth are more equally shared. Since 1927, we’ve had an electoral agreement with the Labour Party to stand joint candidates – there are 26 joint Labour & Co-operative MPs and over joint 1,500 Labour & Co-operative councillors across The Co-operative Party is the party of the UK co-operative movement. the UK. Our representatives work to promote co-operative and community ownership in every corner of the UK.

If you’d like to sponsor or exhibit at the conference, please contact

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