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Future of the high street

Smiley Talk


What does the future of UK High Streets look like? Boarded up shops and clearance sales imply change. We can now do our grocery shop online and even try on clothes at home without paying for them first. This is great for the modern working person who doesn’t have time to pop to the shops anymore, but what does it mean for businesses?  Is the high street becoming irrelevant and inconvenient?

Instead of taking a pessimist view, we’ve decided to go on a positive quest to understand the reasons behind changing behaviours, look at new habits and see if there’s a bigger picture we should be taking note of. We will be looking at commercial practices of profit-making retailers, online stores, and community-focused charity shops against the everyday needs of different groups in our communities.

  • 5.30pm- 6pm - Registrations
  • 6.00pm - 6.15pm: Event starts; Introduction to Smiley TALKS
  • 6:15pm - 6:45 pm: Opening Speech & Keynotes by Robin Osterley (Charity Retail Association) and Ben Atkin (award-winning volunteer, Blue Cross)
  • 6:45pm - 7.50pm: Panel Discussion & audience Q&A chaired by Robin Osterley (Neil Duffy, Lucy Stainton, Enedina Columbano, Andrew Goodacre)
  • 7.50pm - 8.00pm: Closing Remarks & Calls to Action
  • 8.00pm - 9pm: Networking
  • 9pm: Event ends
Chaired by Robin Osterley, CEO at Charity Retail Association – our lead partners for this event, this is a quest to anticipate what the future of UK high streets look like if the status quo remain as is; outlining shopping behaviours consumers can adopt to influence better performing town centres, and what retailers and businesses need to think about to contribute to a thriving high street.
We will be filming the event and sharing inspiring content with different online audiences we believe will benefit from the insights, frameworks and strategies uncovered in this event. Should you not wish to be filmed kindly email as soon as possible.

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Neil Duffy

Head of Wellbeing Services

Neil Duffy

Retail Trust is the only charity that looks after the needs of all 4.5 million people working and involved with retail. In his role as Head of Wellbeing Services, Neil will be sharing insight of how more retail colleagues are seeking help and support across a range of issues.

Robin Osterley

CEO of Charity Retail Association

Robin Osterley

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association, the UK’s only membership association for charity shops, and frequent charity shopper

Lucy Stainton

Head of Retail & Strategic Partnerships at The Local Data Company

Lucy Stainton

Lucy heads up commercial relationships across the retail, leisure, advisory, investor and private equity verticals for leading retail insight business, the Local Data Company (LDC).

Ben Atkin

Winner of Young Volunteer of the Year Award, Charity Retail Conference 2019

Ben Atkin

Ben volunteers at Blue Cross, the animal charity that has been helping sick, injured and homeless pets since 1897.

Enedina Columbano

Commercial Director at TRAID

Enedina Columbano

Enedina began her career at TRAID when the charity launched in 1999 starting on the shop floor as a sales assistant and becoming Commercial Director in 2002. She plays a pivotal role in increasing and securing the charity’s fundraising stream through its retail operations, and has driven a pioneering programme of shop refurbishments which ensures TRAID stands out on the high street.

Andrew Goodacre

Chief Executive at British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA)

Andrew Goodacre

Since joining Bira in September 2018, Andrew has focused his energies on improving the services for members. He has also been campaigning to reduce the burdens on independent retail businesses and saving the town centres and high street throughout the UK.

Blue Cross
Charity Retail Association
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Who Attended (28)

Theo Coyne

Head of Marketing and Events
at Smiley Movement
  • Offers: Marketing

Christina Medici

Head of Global Partnerships
at Smiley Movement (CIC)
  • Interests: Gender Equality
  • Offers: Business Development
  • Needs: Writing & Journalism

Maksym Adyntsev

  • Interests: Affordable and clean energy
  • Needs: Human Resources

Shirley Hands

  • Interests: Good Health and Wellbeing
  • Needs: a few hours a month

Nick Boswell

  • Interests: Climate Action
  • Offers: a few hours a week
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