9 – 10 September, East Midlands Conference Centre

In a relaxed atmosphere of gratitude to be able to meet and celebrate with our colleagues again – in person – we feel a real sense of achievement that we were able to bring you one of our best programmes yet. This was our inspiring progamme of content and here’s who went.

Photo slideshows from the event

Thurs 9 Sept 2021
Awards 9 Sept 2021

Friday 10 Sept 2021

We are incredibly grateful to our wonderful Headline Sponsors for their support and help in making this event happen:

Nisyst logoChoice Textile logo

Sponsors and exhibitors

Here’s a full run down of all our amazing sponsors and exhibitors.

Keynote speakers

We were privileged to have had three outstanding keynote speakers during the two days. Anne Pitcher, Managing Director of Selfridges Group, Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO of Oxfam GB and Wayne Hemingway of HemingwayDesign (who shared his session with Maria Chenoweth, CEO of TRAID and Robin Osterley, CEO of the CRA) all shared their insights and expertise with our delegates.

You can find a write-up of Anne Pitcher’s speech in the Daily Mail, here.

Fast-tracking fashion sustainability, changing shopping mindsets and brand & the establishment of ‘cool’ were prominent themes.

We were left with the following challenge:

How do we pull together as the brand ‘charity shops’ – with all the Gen Z / Gen alpha-friendly sustainable and social values we share – and change the face of shopping once and for all?

Food for thought …

Listen back: These sessions were recorded and will be available to purchase as part of a select package of sessions from the conference shortly.

Focus sessions

Our delegates had the difficult task of choosing four sessions out of this compelling selection.

Session stream: Brand & marketing

  • Working with ‘digital first creators’
  • Lush: Customer experience and manager autonomy
  • Brand storytelling through retail design

Session stream: Strategy

  • Learning from the pandemic: Building a Vision for Volunteering
  • The future of ecommerce 2022-2025 RECORDED
  • Retail trends RECORDED
  • The future of the high street RECORDED

Session stream: Operations

  • Charity superstores RECORDED
  • Trading in the new normal
  • Growing your small chain
  • The journey of rapid charity chain expansion

Session stream: People management

  • Developing your team
  • Engaging Gen-Z RECORDED
  • Implementing a retail people strategy
  • A roadmap to an inclusive culture

Session stream: Ecommerce

  • Selling direct from shops online and ‘Collect-in-store’
  • Generate revenue online with ‘brand new’ sustainable products
  • Re-commerce and Gen-Z
  • Ecommerce expansion

Session stream: Community

  • How charity shops can support people experiencing financial crisis
  • Hyper localism and Emmaus community engagement

Session stream: Sustainability

  • Ideas to make your charity more sustainable
  • The key role of charity shops in providing a fast fashion alternative
  • Twist the lens on operations for a sustainable future

Session stream: Essential

  • Looking after the personal safety of your people
  • Growing Gift Aid

RECORDED sessions will be available to purchase as part of a package of sessions from the conference shortly.

Pre-conference social

On the eve of conference we held our usual themed networking event, this year sponsored by East London Textiles. TRUST was very much on the agenda – and you can find out more about it, here.

Conference bursaries


Nine charity members attended the conference at half price, thanks to our generous Conference Bursaries Sponsor for this year, Cybertill.

Our bursary winners were:

  • Nanette Mellor, The Brain Charity
  • Lauren Brown, RSPCA Manchester and Salford
  • Alison Keeley, LinkAble
  • Julie Whetton, St Joseph Hospice
  • Jasmine Dyer, Bath Cats and Dogs Home
  • Sunnie Luxton, Bracken Trust Cancer Support Centre
  • Rachel McGreevy, USPCA
  • Sue Elsden, Homestart Mid & West Suffolk
  • Susan Newcombe, Lewis-Manning Hospice Care

>> Read about the Charity Retail Awards 2021