A day of learning and connection at the South West Charity Conference

By Nick Batten on 13 February, 2020

On Thursday 6th February, Bath Racecourse played host to the second Business Exchange South West Charity Conference & Expo.

The event, sponsored by Fidelius Group, Milsted Langdon and Stone King, brought together charities and not-for-profits from across the region, including, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall.

There were over 600 sign-ups to various parts of the day which included a networking breakfast, expo and eight educational seminars. Bath Racecourse sponsored the use of the Owners & Trainers Suite where the seminars were held.

The day began with two Q&A sessions as part of the networking breakfast. The first was compered by event organiser and The Business Exchange Editor, Anita Jaynes, who chaired a conversation between Dorothy House Hospice and Milsted Langdon on the subject of diversity in the Third Sector.

With Dorothy House Hospice Care expecting its number of patients to double by 2025 the charity needed to look at new income streams. In 2019, the team launched a collection of ethical skincare and wellbeing products, called Ubiety, to sell online and to targeted outlets. Marianne Cantelo and Amanda Simpson shared their success journey so far and Gill Freeman, Head of Charity and Not-For-Profit at Milsted Langdon, discussed the practical financial pros and cons of the Third Sector embarking on this type of project.

Marianne and Amanda from Ubiety with Gill Freeman, Milsted Langdon.

Claire Pratt, Emberson Group with Peter Woodhouse, Stone King and Hannah Roper, Bath Mind.

The second breakfast session was hosted by Peter Woodhouse, Head of Business Sector and Employment Team at Stone King. Peter welcomed two guests to the stage to explore how charities can pitch their offering to attract business interest, and how businesses can maximise their CSR programmes for their own greater good.

Peter said, “The networking breakfast was a great way to kick-start the day and my thanks go to Hannah Roper from Bath Mind and Clare Pratt from Emberson Group for joining me in my discussion about how charities and businesses can work together effectively and to each other’s benefit.”

The Exhibition element of the day opened at 9am with 38 exhibitors from both the not-for-profit and business world. Exhibitors included, Designability, Bike the UK for MS, We Get It, Genesis Trust, Foodcycle, Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society, Jamie’s Farm, Metro Bank, Wessex Water, University of Bath and Dotty Ink.

Julie Cooper, Marketing & Media Manager for the Army Parachute Association and Skydive Netheravon exhibited on the day. She said, “A huge thank you to Anita for organising such a brilliant Charity Conference and Expo. It’s a great concept and a brilliant opportunity to put people with like-minded aims in one place. I made some great connections which are already bearing fruit!”

The first educational seminar of the conference was hosted by Quartet Community Foundation which showcased the findings of its Vital Signs report showing the real issues charities and our not-for-profit community services are facing.  Claire Wynne Hughes from the Quartet Community Foundation said, “With so many organisations participating, it was an excellent opportunity to learn from others, to share our Vital Signs research, to talk about our Philanthropy Services and grant making, to catch up with existing contacts and make new connections.”

James Carlin, Bath 3SG.

James Carlin, Director, 3SG (Third Sector Group for B&NES) also hosted a seminar session. He said, “The South West Charity conference was a good opportunity to meet new charities and social enterprises from across the region. I gave a talk on local sources of support and received a number of new partnership opportunities as a result.”

Gill Freeman, Head of Charity and Not-for-Profit at Milsted Langdon, added, “The South West Charity Conference 2020 was excellent. It’s been a pleasure to be part of such a significant event for the third sector – from being on the panel at the networking Q&A with Dorothy House, to presenting my own seminar on Financial FAQs – it’s an incredible forum that brings together a likeminded community looking to explore opportunities and share best practice.

Milsted Langdon’s Gill Freeman.

“It was great to see some of my charity clients enjoying the day and was a great opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with new contacts. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.”

Fellow sponsor of the conference, Mark Bradbury, Head of Employee Benefits at Fidelius, commented, “We’ve seen great things come from collaboration; to assist in facilitating a space where businesses and charities can engage productively is a pleasure. It was superb to meet so many people who actively make a positive impact on our community. Their passion and drive is evident and infectious.”

The Business Exchange would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in making the second South West Charity Conference a success. A special thank you to Naturally Social who managed the day’s social media and to Loraine Morgan Brinkhurst of Morgan Brinkhurst Consultancy who welcomed all event delegates.

Following excellent post event feedback, we will be organising the conference and expo again next year. To register your interest in the 2021 South West Charity Conference email: anita@tbesw.co.uk