Community unites at The Business Exchange Charity Conference & Expo

By Anita Jaynes on 26 May, 2022

The fourth Business Exchange South West Charity Conference & Expo in partnership with 3SG and sponsors Milsted Langdon and Stone King took place on Thursday 19th May at Bath Racecourse, bringing together charities, not-for-profits and businesses from across the region.

Hamish Evans, Middle Ground Growers

The day was an opportunity for attendees to connect, share learnings and go for growth. It began with a sell-out networking breakfast for 120 delegates. The morning’s guest speaker was Hamish Evans, Co-Founder of Community Interest Company, Middle Ground Growers. He shared his experience of running a successful crowdfunding campaign raising over £96,000 with 545 supporters in just 69 days, enabling them to build an ecological farm for Bath.

The audience was inspired by Hamish’s passion for farming, knowledge and determination to do his bit for Bath and our local community as the world faces an ecological emergency with us all having to think differently about our actions and choices.

After the breakfast, the expo officially opened with 50 exhibitors which included local charities, not-for-profits and businesses supplying services to the Third Sector. There was a real buzz in the room with people delighted to be back in a physical room, networking again post pandemic.

In total there were 623 signups to various parts of the day which included eight seminars on a range of subjects including the findings of Quartet Community Foundation’s Charities Vital Signs Report, a session on Social Media for Success – Engaging new audiences with Naturally Social, Finance FAQs with Milsted Langdon, Good Governance with Stone King and Volunteering options in BaNES with 3SG.

Stone King Partner, Rosamund McCarthy Etherington

Speaking about the day, Stone King Partner Rosamund McCarthy Etherington, said, “We were delighted to get behind the conference by co-sponsoring it again this year. As we all get used to physical events again it was great to see the exhibition space buzzing with activity and it was a fantastic opportunity for charities to take advantage of a broad range of seminars all in one place. To anyone not able to attend my session on Good Governance, my overriding message was for charities to take the time to review governance both at an organisational and board level. There have been some amazing examples of good practice and collaboration during the pandemic, but there are also ongoing challenges both in terms of funding and new ways of working. Renewing and refreshing governance with an emphasis on openness and accountability will support charities in their missions as well as helping to deliver transformational impact.”

Tim Rutherford, Partner at Stone King, added, “The South West Charity Conference continues to go from strength to strength. It was great to see so many familiar faces and charities back together sharing experiences and promoting their work, after so long apart. It is those face-to-face networking opportunities that drive so many good collaborative ideas and these have been missing over the past few years, so are all the more welcome now.”

Gill Freeman, Head of Charity and Not-For-Profit at Milsted Langdon, commented, “Charities and not-for-profit organisations have had a challenging few years and so this event was a great opportunity for them to share their experiences and lessons while getting the latest updates and advice from the sector’s top experts.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of this event and it was great catching up with so many passionate charity leaders to share advice and guidance on the issues that matter to the sector.”

Becky Brooks, Director, 3SG, said,“ On behalf of 3SG, I’d like to say a big thank you to Anita and the team at the Business Exchange for last week’s Charity Conference and Expo at Bath Racecourse.

Becky Brooks and Miles Lloyd, 3SG

“We hope that all of our members had a fantastic time and left feeling inspired and ‘topped up’ through networking – the feedback we’ve received is that everyone was very pleased to be together after such a long time, it is wonderful that events such as these can be held once more.

“3SG were delighted to partner with the Business Exchange for this event and we look forward to collaborating in future.

“If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of 3SG, which supports charities, social enterprises and community groups in B&NES, please visit our website:”

The Business Exchange would like to thank all our sponsors and partners for making the day such a success. We are really proud of how the event has built momentum over the last four years. It began as just a conference in 2019 with 100 attendees. To have grown it to a day with over 620 signups and 50 exhibitors post pandemic shows the strength of the event and the local not-for-profit community. The event is unique in the UK. There are lots of charity and not-for-profit events on a national scale but not so many focused on a region and uniting a community.

Hannah Minskip, Milsted Langdon

We can’t wait to build on the success of this year’s event in 2023. Watch this space for a special South West Charity Conference & Expo as we hit the five year milestone.

If you are interested in getting involved in the 2023 Business Exchange South West Charity Conference & Expo please get in touch. Email: 

Check out the photo gallery from the day here.