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Heart of the Community 2024

The Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, Westminster (London)
10:00am - 4:00pm
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Heart of the Community is ACS' biggest political event of the year, aimed at connecting retailers with senior policymakers and politicians to discuss the impact of the political landscape on convenience stores, both now and in the future.

At the event, you will hear from senior politicians, leading candidates in the upcoming election, and a high-profile pollster. Additionally, you will learn strategies for effectively engaging with candidates in your constituency, ensuring your voice is heard both during and after the General Election.

This year's event will take place in the Attlee Suite at Portcullis House, opposite the Houses of Parliament, and will be followed by a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons, where you'll have the opportunity to engage with your MP face-to-face.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Kevin Hollinrake MP, Minister for Retail and Small Business

  • Rushanara Ali MP, Shadow Minister for Investment and Small Business

  • Luke Tryl, renowned pollster and Director of More in Common

The conference will also feature:

  • A panel and Q&A session with: 
    • Margaret Mullane, Labour candidate for Dagenham and Rainham

    • Sara GezdariConservative candidate for Richmond Park

    • Paul Kohler, Liberal Democrat candidate for Wimbledon

  • A presentation from ACS Government Relations Director, Ed Woodall, on how to engage with candidates during and after the General Election

  • A ‘partner hub’ where you can access advice, best practice, and essential information about supporting your colleagues

Book your free place using the links on the right hand side of this page. 

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Event Speakers

Luke Tryl, UK Director, More in Common

As UK Director at More in Common, Luke leads pioneering work in UK public opinion and thought leadership, focusing on diverse issues such as immigration and mental health. He helps stakeholders navigate complex societal topics and has developed More in Common’s UK research operations. s a regular commentator on UK public opinion across both print and broadcast media and has appeared on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Times Radio and Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge. He has also written for various publications including the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, New Statesman and the Spectator. He previously served as a Special Advisor to Nicky Morgan during the Cameron administration and as Director of Strategy at the education inspectorate Ofsted.

Kevin Hollinrake, Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business

First elected as the MP for Thirsk and Malton in 2015, Kevin Hollinrake was appointed a Minister in the Department for International Trade in October 2022. Born in Easingwold, Yorkshire, he studied Physics at Sheffield Hallam University before leaving to join Prudential's Estate Agency. He co-founded Hunters Estate Agents, which he helped grow into a national chain.

Rushanara Ali MP, Shadow Minister for Investment and Small Business

First elected as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2010, Rushanara Ali has served as the Shadow Minister for Investment and Small Business since September 2023. Born in 1975, she grew up in Tower Hamlets after moving to the UK from Bangladesh at the age of seven. She attended Mulberry School, Tower Hamlets College, and Oxford University. Prior to her parliamentary career, Rushanara worked as a parliamentary researcher and held positions at the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, and as an Associate Director at the Young Foundation in Bethnal Green. In 2016, she was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Bangladesh.

Edward Woodall, Government Relations Director, ACS

Ed joined ACS in September 2009 having graduated from Roehampton University in 2007. As Government Relations Director Ed is responsible for communicating ACS’ policy positions across Westminster, Whitehall and the devolved nations with civil servants, parliamentarians and external stakeholders. Ed consults with ACS members through ACS’ Policy Committee and Expert Policy Groups to develop policy positions and the organisation's public affairs strategy.

Ed has given evidence to numerous parliamentary committees in Westminster and devolved nations and contributes to policy developments across a range of government working groups including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Home Office.

Ed completed the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma in Public Relations in 2013. Ed is currently studying for his MBA at Surrey Business School.

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