Heart of the Community

16th October 2018
1 Birdcage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ
12:00pm - 6:00pm
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ACS’ unmissable political event, the Heart of the Community Conference 2018, will offer retailers key insights into how the latest political agenda could impact their businesses.   

The conference will bring together retailers from across the country to address the policy issues that really matter for the sector, focusing on tackling retail crime, acting on the environment and the future of work in the sector.

The Heart of the Community conference will be followed by an exclusive drinks reception in the House of Commons celebrating success of apprentices in the sector, retailers demonstrating exemplary work in their local communities and retailers enabling healthy choices for consumers. The Small Business Minister has been confirmed to then speak to retailers directly about the government’s plans to support local shops.

Registering for Heart of the Community will also register you for the Parliamentary Reception.

Confirmed speakers for the conference are available below. More panellists and the headline political speaker will be announced in due course.



12pm Lunch

Welcome from Heart of the Community Chair James Lowman


Overview of the political landscape

Panel One- Retail Crime

Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire

Rory Geoghegan, Head of Criminal Justice, Centre for Social Justice

Stephen Hammond MP, MP for Wimbledon and Chairman of APPG on Retail Crime

Victoria Crorken, National Business Crime Partnerships Manager, Co-op

Jack Courtez, News Editor, Retail Express


Panel Two – Environmental Policy

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive, East of England Co-op

Richard McIlwain, Deputy Chief Executive, Keep Britain Tidy

Trewin Restorick, Chief Executive, Hubbub

David Rees, Editor, Convenience Store Magazine


Panel Three – People in Convenience Stores

Richard Lim, Chief Executive, Retail Economics

David Shrimpton, Editor, Independent Retail News

Conor D'Arcy, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, Resolution Foundation

Susan Connolly, Connolly SPAR


Chair’s closing remarks with James Lowman summing up the day’s discussion

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Event Speakers

Tim Shipman (Political Speaker)

Political Editor of the Sunday Times, Tim Shipman has been a national newspaper journalist for nearly twenty years, having reported the latest news from Westminster and The White House, Tim’s career both in the UK and across the pond has seen him secure vast experience reporting on British and American politics and the most topical international relations.

Formerly Deputy Political Editor of the Daily Mail; Washington Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, Tim has held several posts, both Political and Foreign, at the Daily and Sunday Express. His experience is diverse and has seen him coordinate a wide range of news, from the war in Kosovo to Bill Clinton's impeachment and Clinton electoral campaign, as well as writing extensively on security issues. He was the main anchorman for the Express’s coverage of the Iraq War, reporting from the US Central Command in Doha. Tim has covered four British General Elections and three American elections from the US. Well known in the Westminster political mix, he is a trusted confidant of politicians from all political parties.

Kelly Tolhurst MP, Small Business Minister (Reception Speaker)

Kelly Tolhurst has been MP for Rochester and Strood since 2015. She became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Priti Patel as Secretary of State for International Development in 2016, and in January 2018 became an Assistant Government Whip. She was promoted in July 2018 to become a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Her ministerial responsibilities include: the retail sector, small business, industrial strategy, labour markets and the Post Office.

James Lowman, Chief Executive, ACS

James was appointed ACS Chief Executive in November 2006, since then he has re-focused the organisation on being the strongest possible voice for local shops. He has led a unique research programme that informs ACS’ policy work, launched an industry-leading assured advice scheme in partnership with Surrey County Council, created a new and unique events programme, and increased membership and engagement from all parts of the industry. He has been recognised for his work with outstanding achievement awards from Palmer & Harvey, YIGA, and the Retail Industry Awards. James is a member of ministerial advisory groups including the Future High Streets Forum, the National Retail Crime Steering Group and the Retail Policy Forum. He also sits on the boards of Community Alcohol Partnerships and the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS).

James joined ACS in 1997. He has a degree in Politics from the University of Essex, and an MBA from Kingston Business School.

Rory Geoghegan, Head of Criminal Justice, Centre for Social Justice

Rory Geoghegan is Head of Criminal Justice at the Centre for Social Justice. Rory has previously worked in strategy at PwC and started working on criminal justice while at the Institute for Government. His criminal justice policy experience is blended with frontline practice, spending five years as a police officer working across response, neighbourhoods and gangs in the Metropolitan Police.

His recent work has included developing proposals to help free vulnerable women from the revolving door of crime (A Woman-Centred Approach), measures to tackle shop theft and prolific drug-addicted offending (Desperate for a Fix), and most recently setting out a proven blueprint to tackle gang violence and related offending in London and beyond. Rory is also a member of the Victims’ Commissioner’s Advisory Group and an Ambassador for Clean Sheet, a charity offering prisoners and ex-offenders the hope of a better future through proper work.

Jack Courtez, News Editor, Retail Express

Jack Courtez is the news editor of Retail Express. Jack is constantly looking for the inside track on the industry news to help give independent convenience retailers the latest information on changes in store and beyond. 

Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire

Former MP Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in May 2016. Chair of the Police Reform and Transformation Board and the Business Enablers sub-committee, he is also the Labour lead for finance matters and sits on the Board of the Police ICT company. He was asked to Chair the Governance Sub-Committee of the Specialist Capabilities Programme which is currently examining how best the Police can respond to new challenges in the changing policing landscape. As an MP he undertook a number of efficiency studies for the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and was closely involved in the Lawrence Inquiry.

Trewin Restorick, CEO/Founder, Hubbub

Trewin Restorick is Founder and CEO of the award-winning charity Hubbub UK www.hubbub.org.uk which transforms the way environmental messages are communicated by bringing people and organisations together as a force for good.  He is also Chair of Student Hubs http://www.studenthubs.org/

Previously Trewin created Global Action Plan the UK’s leading environmental behaviour change charity. Trewin is a frequent media commentator on environmental issues and was trained by Al Gore as one of his climate change ambassadors

Before starting Global Action Plan, Trewin was Director of Fundraising at Friends of the Earth where he created PaperRound London’s leading community recycling business. Prior to Friends of the Earth, Trewin worked at Plymouth City Council and produced a youth TV programme for the BBC called Something Else. 

David Rees, Editor, Convenience Store

David Rees has been editor of Convenience Store, the local store industry’s leading publication, since 2005. Over the past decade he has closely monitored and commented on changes in the fast-moving convenience store industry, and has built up a wealth of experience and contacts to continue to deliver the industry’s favourite information brand both through the core fortnightly magazine and new channels such as the website.

Richard Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Retail Economics

Richard is Chief Executive Officer of Retail Economics, an independent economics research consultancy focused on the consumer and retail industry. He also sits on the Strategic Advisory Board at the University of East Anglia’s School of Economics, ranked in the top 10 departments in Economics in the UK. Previously, Richard held the position of Chief Economist at the British Retail Consortium before heading up the Retail Insight and Analytics team. Prior to that, he worked in mergers and acquisitions for Citi. Richard has a wealth of experience in data analytics, retail insight, economics and consumer research. He lives in London and has a keen interest in behavioural game theory and its application on consumers.

Stephen Hammond MP, MP for Wimbledon

Stephen Hammond MP for Wimbledon is Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Retail Crime and sits on the Treasury Select Committee.

Victoria Crorken, National Business Crime Partnerships Manager, Co-op

Victoria Crorken is senior police leader on secondment to the Co-op as their National Business Crime Partnerships Manager.

With 26 years police service her expertise is building long term collaborative relationships with communities in order to resolve problems that affect them.

In her role at the Co-op she is working closely with key retail representative organisations, partner agencies and retail colleagues in order to address issues that affect store colleagues.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive, East of England Co-Operative

Roger has been involved in Co-Operative movement for 45 years, from a 17 year old trainee manager to Joint CEO responsible for East of England Co-Operative's diverse retail portfolio. Today’s society is an amalgamation of smaller societies from across East Anglia, including the Clacton, Coggeshall and Maldon societies. Now East of England Co-Operative has over 230 stores and branches across Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, over 4,000 employees and 288,000 members.

Susan Connolly, Connolly Spar

Susan Connolly is Sales Director for Connolly Spar, a family business which has been trading for over 50 years from three convenience stores based in Wiltshire.

She has been actively involved in all aspects of the family’s business since a very young age and has an embedded dynamic enthusiasm for independent retailing.

Whilst in her previous role as Store Manager at Spar Pewsey she achieved Appleby Westward’s ‘Community Retailer of the Year’ award, CTC Wholesaler ‘Community Retailer of the Year’ award and has made it to the finals in the category of ‘Independent Community Retailer’ at the Retail Industry Awards. She has also won the ACS Achievement Award in 2014 and the IGD Leading Edge Award in 2017.

She strives to expand her knowledge and experience of the retail industry, bringing new ideas and innovation into the family business to promote profit and growth.

Conor D'Arcy, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, Resolution Foundation

Conor joined the Resolution Foundation in September 2013. His work focuses on a range of labour market issues including the minimum wage, self-employment, pay progression and zero-hours contracts. Prior to that, he worked for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and for an MP. He studied sociology and English literature at Trinity College Dublin and has a master’s in social policy from the London School of Economics. 

Richard McIlwain: Deputy Chief Executive, Keep Britain Tidy

Richard has been with Keep Britain Tidy for eight years and prior to that spent 20 years working for the Environment Agency and the National Rivers Authority.

He graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in Environmental Science in the 1980s and has been a passionate environmentalist ever since.

Richard has been active in developing the charity’s mission to eradicate litter, prevent waste and create great public space, overseeing the development of our work across many of our programmes, campaigns and policy initiatives.

David Shrimpton, Editor, Independent Retail News

David has been editor of Independent Retail News since 2007, a monthly magazine for owners of independent convenience stores and the leading trade publication for the grocery convenience sector, supported by TalkingRetail.com.