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Annual Conference 2021 - Annual Conference 2021
Last updated April 2021

2021 Annual Conference: New Horizons - the challenge for post-covid benevolence

Registration is open for our Annual Conference 2021 taking place across two mornings on Tuesday 11 May - Wednesday 12 May 2021: 9:30am - 12:45pm

Please register on Eventbrite for tickets and Zoom access details

The Covid pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the charity sector over the last year, creating a diverse range of hurdles that benevolent funds and grant-makers have had to overcome to continue to effectively meet the increasing and evolving demand from their beneficiary communities.

But as we gradually emerge from the crisis, what does the landscape now look like for benevolent charities?

Join us from 11-12 May for our 2021 virtual Annual Conference – kindly supported by CCLA – bringing together colleagues from benevolent/grant-making charities throughout the sector to come together to debate, discuss and share reflections through a series of thought-provoking panels, sessions and workshops.

Registration fees (ACO charity members £25/ACO Corporate Partners £30/Non-members £35) have been set deliberately low to encourage maximum participation from member and non-member charities for this digital event and provide full access to both daily sessions.

In addition, we are offering 4 registrations for the price of 3 for multiple purchases. Please contact if you wish to take advantage of this offer.

Presentations will be recorded and made available for those who register for this event.

With thanks to our Corporate Partner CCLA for supporting this event.


Day 1 - Tuesday 11 May

9.30am Introduction & welcome - Donal Watkin (Chief Executive, ACO)

9.45am Investing in a Better Future: workplace mental health - Amy Browne (Stewardship Lead, Ethical & Responsible Investment, CCLA) and Elizabeth Sheldon (Chief Operating Officer, CCLA)

10.15am Panel: Where now for 21st Century Benevolence?

  • Chair: Donal Watkin (Chief Executive, ACO)
  • Debra Allcock Tyler (Chief Executive, Directory of Social Change) 
  • Joseph Howes (Chief Executive, Buttle UK)
  • Danielle Hunt (Chief Executive, Phamacist Support)
  • Mandi Leonard (Welfare Director, GroceryAid)

11.00am BREAK

11.30am The past, present and future of living standards and poverty in the UK - Mike Brewer (Deputy Chief Executive & Chief Economist, Resolution Foundation)

11.55 Pushing past the pandemic and best practices used from the Grant-Making sector - Siobhan Holmes (Director, haysmacintyre)

12.30am CLOSE

Day 2 - Wednesday 12 May

9.30am Workshop: Meeting the challenge of digitalisation:

  • Managing change in charity organisations - Alan Perestrello (Co-Founder & Director) and Aika Peto (Head of Marketing) at Trillium
  • Lightning talks: How ACO members upscaled their digital service delivery during the pandemic - Case studies from three ACO member charities featuring Jessica French (Development Manager, CABA), Trudie Clements (Director, ABTA LifeLine) and Li-Anne Quinn (Marketing and Communications Manager, Foothold)
  • Digital Inclusion: Don’t leave your beneficiaries behind in the digital divide - Jenny Haskey (Chief Executive, Citizens Online)

11.00am BREAK

11.30am Stronger together: effective collaboration in the grant-making sector - Julie Green (Chief Executive, Glasspool), Paul Carbury (Chief Executive, Smallwood) and Ren Yi Hooi (Founder and CEO Lightning Social Ventures)

12.00pm Panel: Returning to work: the outlook for charities

  • Chair: D'Arcy Myers (Chair, ACO)
  • Adeela Warley (Chief Executive, CharityComms)
  • Zoe Amar (Founder and Director, Zoe Amar Digital)

12.40pm Summary & Close - Donal Watkin (Chief Executive, ACO)