NFRN Annual Conference 2018 Recap
The NFRN’s 99th Annual Conference took place on 11 and 12 June at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay.
Join the conversation by using the hashtag #nfrn2018 in your tweets, videos and photos!
Opening conference this year was local MP Kevin Foster, who paid tribute to the vital role NFRN members play in their local communities.
Brampton newsagent Mike Mitchelson (Carlisle & Cumbria branch) will lead the NFRN into its 100th year after being confirmed as National President for 2018/19, while Stuart Reddish (Sheffield) and Muntazir Dipoti (East Lancashire) were elected as the new vice president and deputy vice president respectively. National trustees for the year ahead are Martin Ward (3 year-term), Sunil Patel (2 year-term) and Nilesh Patel (1 year-term).
There are two new faces on the National Executive Committee (NEC) with Gwen Patterson and Bhavesh Patel joining Jason Birks, Peter Wagg, Steve Archer and John Parkinson who were all re-elected.
With the theme for this year’s conference being ‘Putting Members First’, there were a wide range of discussions and presentations on hot industry topics, including news supply chain issues and retail crime. Members were also urged to take advantage of the many NFRN benefits and services they are entitled to, along with new and existing business opportunities. Discover how NFRN Direct can kick-start your sales!
A full report of all the action from conference will be available in the July edition of The Fed. That’s not all – along with following all the goings-on from Torquay on the NFRN Twitter page or through the event hashtag #nfrn2018, you can also watch all the speeches and presentations from conference on our video site which will be available via this page next week.
Watch the action from conference
You can now watch all the main speeches and presentations from Annual Conference on our dedicated video site.
Just follow the instructions below:
- Click the ‘Watch Now’ button below (this will take you to the video site)
- If you haven’t registered for the video site before then click the ‘Register’ button at the top (if you already have an account then sign in as normal)
- Enter your name and email address
- Click ‘Register’
- Click ‘Continue’
- Scroll down to the end of the page and click ‘Browse Event’
- You can now view all the videos from conference
An automatic email will also be sent to the email address you provided (please check your Junk/Spam folder in case it goes there). This will contain a password you can use to enter the video site for future visits.
Conference in Pictures
More photos from our 99th Annual Conference are available on the NFRN Facebook page.
Thank you to everyone who entered but there can only be one winner!
So congratulations to Mr & Mrs Vyas – who won a fully stocked vape and e-liquid stand for collecting the most supplier stamps at Annual Conference! #nfrn2018https://t.co/0mwcSwzyUd pic.twitter.com/KfQZv5nY4p
— NFRN (@NFRN_Online) June 13, 2018
Speeches and interviews
Mike Mitchelson's Conference Speech
To be elected as National President of the NFRN is a great honour….to hold this position twice is an even greater privilege.
The first time I was National President was between 1994 and 1995 – nearly 25 years ago.
Our news industry and our trading environment were very different then. At that time the NFRN was celebrating its 75th anniversary so, to stand here today as this great organisation of ours approaches its 100th year is a humbling experience.
Leading the NFRN as it reaches this remarkable milestone in its history will make the coming year even more memorable.
Life as an independent retailer is very different to how it was 25 years ago. There has been a real shake up in our industry.
Yes, there were challenges then but today’s retailing environment is even more demanding and the pressures greater than ever before.
With our traditional markets in decline we have had to diversify into convenience retailing to survive.
We’ve always opened early but now are often trading late into the night.
Our operating costs have soared with the introductions of auto pension enrolment and the national and living wage. Business rates and shop rents have increased. At the same time margins have been squeezed. Carriage charges continue to go ever upwards. Instances of shoplifting and more violent forms of retail crime have risen.
Customers are even more discerning, basing their shopping choices on shop layouts, friendliness of staff and pricing. And more so than ever, they appear to be tightening their belts.
The social and technological changes and challenges that we have overcome would have killed off many others.
But we are independent retailers and we are remarkably resilient.
We want to retain our independence and remain at the heart of our communities.
And we recognise that being a member of the NFRN can help.
In 1919 the NFRN was formed to protect and further the interests of independent retailers. Since the very beginning it has put the needs of members first. That ethos will never change.
Putting Members First
Putting members first will be at the heart of everything that the NFRN does in the next 12 months.
A centenary is, of course, a fitting time to reflect on the years gone by and everything that has been achieved – and there has been so much.
Our history should never be forgotten – including the occasional mistake – and as current officials and members we owe it our past members to keep the NFRN strong and vibrant.
But our task is not to look backwards. We must look forward and lead independent retailers to a better future.
The NFRN truly belongs to its members. Our priority is to help independent retailers everywhere prosper – for our benefit and for the benefit of our communities.
NFRN membership protects you. We support the members. We advise the members. We help the members. And that is what we will continue to do.
And that will be achieved by stepping up our engagement and in the following ways.
Firstly and most importantly, this means improving and enhancing our engagement with our members.
That means talking to as many of them as we can to get an even greater understanding of the challenges they face so our benefits and services can be even better tailored to their needs.
Currently many good and entrepreneurial members exist who, because of time constraints, do not get actively involved in the NFRN at branch, district or national level…but we need to reach out and engage with them.
Through our programme of joint open days and social events over the past two years we have made a good start in bringing together members who would not normally attend a branch or district meeting.
Besides enabling members and non members to engage, such events have provided opportunities to share experiences and learn about new products and sales opportunities to exploit gaps in the marketplace.
Following the success of trade shows in England, Wales and Scotland I am pleased that these are now being extended to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland later this year.
And I am keen to see a full calendar of trade events in 2019 and beyond.
But I am also keen to set up a series of focus groups where younger retailers can share experiences about building successful businesses and we can establish exactly what they need from us and the direction they would like the NFRN to take.
To engage successfully with our members, we must also improve and enhance our communications with them.
Every opportunity must be taken to shout about the Federation’s successes.
That way our members will be fully aware of exactly what we have to offer. We have a whole range of support and help and we need to make sure they are aware of that help.
And that the NFRN is always there to help with guidance, services and support to ensure a bright future for independent retailers everywhere.
Help is only a phone call away through NFRN Connect.
Secondly, we must engage with non members to show that we mean business.
They need to know we provide the best representation and assistance in a difficult and ever changing marketplace.
And to encourage them into our membership.
Taking our lobbying activity to the next level
Engagement with politicians is another key factor.
While great strides have already been taken in our engagement with politicians we will up the ante in Westminster and take our lobbying activity up to the next level.
That means getting the NFRN in front of ministers who can make a difference, making them fully aware of the many injustices faced by independent retailers and the many ways in which they can lend assistance and support. They need to know the consequences of their decision making. We need to influence them as they develop their politics.
Retail crime still remains one of the biggest issues facing our membership. From all over the country we have reports of serious violence towards Independent Retailers and their staff.
Every retailer has a right to feel safe in their shops and live their lives free from crime.
But police budget cuts and the lack of bobbies on the beat means that retail crime victims are not getting the response times and service that they deserve.
The newly-formed all party parliamentary group on retail crime chaired by Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond is a good step forward.
We have a number of MPs already committed to supporting us and raising awareness of the devastating impact that crime has on shop owners, their families and staff.
But we must step up our efforts in lobbying politicians, police chiefs and police commissioners for better response times, more frontline officers and sentences that really fit the crime.
And our focus cannot be restricted to violent attacks; lower level crimes must also be addressed.
In particular, there has been a boom in shoplifting after several police forces decided not to pursue criminals who steal goods worth less than £100.
That’s not right as shoplifting continues to be a financial burden on retailers everywhere. I am sure every member has been affected by shop theft at some point.
In London – according to latest statistics – there are on average 128 shoplifting incidents a day – that’s 46,840 over the year. In the West Midlands the annual statistic is 19,851 while in West Yorkshire police saw a 3 per cent increase in shoplifting offences over the past year, recording 17,419 incidents. While my local constabulary, Cumbria, had to deal with the second lowest number of incidents – at 2,864 it was still 2,864 too many.
We heard this morning the presentation from Detective Chief Inspector Georgie Barnard, her message was clear that firstly we have to report crime of any level and secondly our voice would be heard.
So please encourage members to report retail crime which we engage with the National Business Crime Centre.
She has already agreed to arrange a meeting for us with herself and the Deputy Police Commissioners who works with all 42 police forces.
A challenge to members
So engaging with politicians is vitally important and it is why this year I am giving the NFRN membership a challenge.
I would like every MP – all 650 of them – to receive a visit from at least one NFRN member between now and Annual Conference next year.
And while we are doing this, let’s arrange meetings with chief constables and – in England and Wales – our police and crime commissioners too.
These meetings will allow the NFRN to send a very clear message that rising instances of retail crime and poor police responses can no longer be tolerated.
We must take every opportunity to press home the concerns of all independent retailers regarding retail crime to improve security for those standing behind the counter.
Our staff will provide all support necessary to help members visit and lobby MPs etc.
Securing the future of news
From the presentations yesterday afternoon it is abundantly clear that to publishers, wholesalers and retailers, news still matters, despite the challenges thrown at us on a daily basis.
So we engage with all sectors of the news supply chain – whether through our successful news forums or regular meetings with wholesalers and publishers – as we continue to press for an end to the injustices and unfairness that currently plague us.
As a news retailer for 40 years, I know only too well how frustrating it is when publications fail to arrive in the quantities and at the time needed.
We have all had to turn customers away because we are missing their favourite read.
It’s not right that newspapers may fail to arrive until after news boys and girls have had to leave for school.
It’s not right that top selling titles are short supplied and HND retailers are left high and dry.
And it’s not right that news wholesalers and newspaper publishers can hike up their carriage charges or slash our margins with no consideration as to how we can meet those extra costs within our own businesses.
Better support from publishers is key to the future success of the supply chain.
It is time for them to take some responsibility for the whole news sector.
They need to stop thinking about themselves and their shareholders and demonstrate a real willingness to work with the NFRN to tackle late deliveries, rising costs and falling sales.
The alternative is to see the entire distribution network collapsing.
To secure the future of news – and particularly its backbone of home news delivery – we must all get round the table to right the wrongs and find solutions to the unfairness and injustices that currently exist in the supply chain. I would like to see more news summits with all sectors of the news industry involved.
Taking the NFRN to the next level
Following the demise of NFRN Commercial Ltd, and since the beginning of this year the Federation has been rebuilding its business development offering.
We need to draw a line under the past, learn from the experience, all work together to provide business opportunities for our members.
Business Development needs to put members first concentrating on putting money in all members tills.
Good progress is being achieved but it is paramount that we regularly engage with our suppliers, while new relationships are built to enable members to fully capitalise on new selling opportunities.
Through engagement with all sides of the industry the NFRN can continue to offer an extensive range of support activity plus the detailed advice and tips required to give independent retailers full value for their membership fee.
With regular discussion and dialogue we can enhance our benefits and services so independent retailers can continue to meet the challenges of a more competitive market place.
Engagement at every level will make the NFRN stronger and better able to address the issues that confront us now and into the future so we remain a leading light in the retail industry.
I will always do the very best for the NFRN
Becoming National President – and for a second time – would not have been possible without the support of my district, my branch my family and everyone in this room and I thank you all.
Thanks must go too to Linda Sood who has been a very strong president against a demanding and difficult backdrop.
Neither would the NFRN be the success it is without the tireless efforts of national, district and branch officials and Federation staff.
Those of you who know me well will know that I will always do the very best for the NFRN and its members.
I do not shirk from the challenges ahead.
The NFRN has the experience, the skills and expertise to take independent retailers forward and I relish the opportunity to lead these efforts.
We will continue to develop tangible benefits for all members so independent retailers can face the future with determination and positivity.
The year ahead
As we move into our 100th year we need to accept that change is not only vital but inevitable if we are to make sure our organisation is in the correct form to be in the position to serve our membership needs.
Over the next few months and including the National Council meetings in September and November we will be looking internally at ourselves, our organisation, creating debate and discussion across the membership in advance of next year’s conference as we shape the NFRN for its next centenary.
This will start with the recruitment process for a Chief Operating Officer.
As National President I will do all I can to ensure that happens and I know I can count on your support.
By working together we can make the NFRN strong, vibrant and forward looking and ready to face the next 100 years.
We will move forward with vigour and determination.
The NFRN has a proud history and over the last century it has supported members every step of the way. It is as strong and relevant today as the day it was founded…but there is always more that we can do.
And we have a group of committed people – officials and staff – who have the talent and ability to take the NFRN to the next level.
To seek and seize opportunities to make the Federation fit for purpose for its next 100 years. To make sure members are innovative.
Able to remain on the front foot, and positive and passionate about the future of the NFRN and independent retailers.
Let’s make our centenary a vintage year.
As we engage and communicate with every sector which affects our livelihood and our future and as we engage and communicate with every member. You can be assured that we will always be putting the members first.
“Where’er ne man can help another, thank God for such a Birthright Brother”
Linda Sood's farewell speech to Conference
Good Morning Conference, Colleagues, Family and Friends.
As your National President it is an honour for me to chair the 2018 and 99th NFRN Annual Conference here in Torquay. For the next two days we are here to make NFRN policy so I am expecting – and looking forward to – well informed and passionate debate. The issues that will be covered are incredibly important to independent retailers and to NFRN members alike.
For this year’s Conference we have adopted the theme Putting Members First.
But Putting Members First has been at the forefront of everything that I set out to achieve when elected as your National President 12 months ago. And I can promise that Putting Members First will remain the core of our activities and initiatives as we move into our 100th year.
The 12 months since I last addressed you from this very rostrum have been incredibly busy. Certainly, they have been challenging – but they have been very fulfilling too.
From reading the NFRN’s Annual Report, from listening to the various presentations that will take place over the next two days, and from hearing the lively debate afterwards, I hope you will agree that the NFRN has done some great things.
The past year has certainly been interesting.
Booker and Tesco received the go ahead to merge; Nisa and the Co-op joined forces, and who would have thought that Palmer & Harvey would be no more?
Trinity Mirror announced plans to buy out the Express. The “for sale” sign went up at Menzies Distribution; and more recently, Sainsbury and Asda announced they were to merge.
Within the NFRN, our chief executive departed and NFRN Commercial was put into liquidation. What this did, however, was to provide the NFRN with an opportunity to bring our commercial offering back in house…and at the start of the year a new business development department was created.
Through this new department we will – and have started – concentrating on delivering real benefits to members. This means delivering practical, relevant support to members and providing them with great value and service. Relationships are being forged with new suppliers and we are getting reacquainted with existing partners. In particular, we are keen to develop our buying group NFRN Direct and make all members aware of the opportunity it presents. As well as giving direct access to hundreds of different suppliers of mainstream products NFRN Direct offers highly competitive prices and terms.
Although it is still early days, I am pleased to report that its development is going very well. Both new suppliers and new members have joined the scheme. The number of active customers is also growing, and turnover has been up month on month since the beginning of the year.
This is a remarkable achievement given all the circumstances. I would recommend that you join NFRN Direct. It is free and very easy to join and the benefits can be immediate.
In my case, it is greatly improved prices for milk yet I still receive the product from my original supplier. The more of us who join NFRN Direct and who use it regularly, the stronger it will become, giving us even better deals.
News supply chain
On the news front members have continued to receive a raw deal and our relationships with both publishers and wholesalers have been both demanding and challenging, with problems arising at every turn. For members served by the new Smiths News hub in Hemel Hempstead or out of Birmingham late summer proved to be particularly torrid.
As if persistent late deliveries and constant packing errors were not enough, Smiths News then decided to hike carriage charges with an average increase of 4 per cent. Such injustices could not be ignored.
That’s why at 7.30am on September 18 a delegation of NFRN members gathered outside Smiths News head office in Swindon. We were there to tell the news wholesaler that Enough was Enough and it was time to end the carriage charge rip off. This protest was one of the most high profile actions the NFRN has taken for some time.
More importantly, it left senior Smiths News’ management in no doubt of the strength of feeling against their shoddy service levels and the increased financial burdens that were being placed on independent retailers. And, equally important, it forced Smiths News to take action.
Following our protest and subsequent meetings in both Hemel and Birmingham, improvements were introduced. More experienced personnel were parachuted in and procedures were reviewed to resolve a situation that was truly unacceptable. Through our actions we clearly demonstrated that Enough was Enough.
And that the NFRN was not prepared to stand back when performance levels deteriorated. Instead we would do everything possible to gain a better service and fairer deals for members.
Continuing our efforts to fight further injustices in the news industry and to make it a better place for independent retailers, April saw us deliver a formal submission to the Competition and Markets Authority for an investigation.
In our 32 page document we detailed how developments within the industry since the last OFT inquiry had caused substantial – and in some cases irreparable – damage to independent retailers by depriving their customers of their favourite read.
I am hopeful that from this document the CMA will agree that the combination of spiralling costs, a disgraceful service from news wholesalers, and greatly reduced margins are no longer acceptable and that newspapers and magazines could be consigned to history unless regulatory action is taken.
We need the CMA to agree that action against the clear anti competitive behaviour in our industry is of paramount importance as is establishing a level playing field throughout the news supply chain before it is too late. From both our protest and CMA submission the NFRN has sent out very clear messages that supply chain injustices will no longer be tolerated. That we want an industry where retailers are treated fairly and paid a decent wage.
Before I move onto other NFRN activities, I would like to alert delegates to changes within our Newspro initiative to help members achieve even greater profits from the news category.
Through merging Newspro, N3 and our news retail standards initiative we believe we can offer members additional benefits from selling newspapers and magazines. As a result, much of the pain associated with managing this complex category will be removed, exciting new promotions to catch customers’ eyes will be run and members will receive the right publications in the right quantities.That’s all I want to say at the moment as there will be more news about this exciting development tomorrow!
Taking your concerns to Parliament
Turning to public affairs, and thanks to a full and vigorous programme of activity we have the ears of parliamentarians, leading to new and improved levels of effectiveness.
Without a doubt when it comes to lobbying on matters of concern to independent retailers the NFRN has raised its game. But this must continue for the Federation to retain its position as the leading organisation for independent retailers.
- From deposit return schemes to parking;
- From the costs associated with pension auto enrolment and paying staff a national living wage;
- And from concerns at the growth in the illicit markets of tobacco and alcohol and increasing incidents of retail crime.
On the latter issue, the recently launched All Party Parliamentary Group on retail crime will be a powerful new force in raising awareness of the devastating impact this has on small retailers.
I am truly grateful to Stephen Hammond for agreeing to chair this group and to the MPs who have already pledged their support. Retail crime has been an issue of concern to the NFRN for some considerable time. We have talked about the need for the government and police to really get to grips with tackling it.
Hopefully with this new APPG and with Daniel Johnson’s ‘Not Part of the Job’ bill to tackle violence against retailers who have done nothing more than ask for identification before selling a customer an age restricted product, real progress will now be made.
This is vital for the sake of shop owners everywhere and their staff and family members who sadly – and all too often – are the focal point of and victims of crimes.
We also cannot let the government forget that the independent retailer plays a major role in the economy. Over the past year it is evident that we are listened to. That what we say does count in Westminster, in Cardiff, in Holyrood, in Belfast and in the Dail but we cannot be complacent. We will continue to Put Members First by ensuring your concerns are raised at the highest levels in all parliaments.
So that MPs, MSPs, Assembly Members and TDs are fully aware of the issues impacting on the future survival of independent retailers and the assistance required so that they can be addressed.
Here to help you
Throughout the year the work undertaken by the five strong NFRN Connect team has perfectly illustrated how the NFRN puts members first by recouping nearly £120,000 of retailers’ money.
It has also handled a record number of calls from members requiring assistance. More importantly, a satisfaction survey revealed that more than three quarters of members were very satisfied or satisfied with the service. Nearly nine in 10 said they would definitely use the service again and recommend it to others. Little wonder then that for many independent retailers NFRN Connect is the fifth emergency service.
Also Putting Members First were our team of RDMs and RSOs who made 13,488 visits and nearly 17,000 phone calls throughout the year, as well as recruiting nearly 850 extra members.
Meanwhile, additions to our retail standards library of factsheets and guidance assisted members in better understanding the complexities of running a business.
Particular importance was stressed with regard to reading contracts thoroughly.
Stronger relationships were forged with Camelot, PayPoint, Payzone and Cashzone while NFRN intelligence given to Imperial Tobacco’s Suspect It? Report It campaign and to HMRC, led to 50,000 illicit and counterfeit cigarettes being taken out of circulation in the West Midlands.
Trade shows and events
For the NFRN Putting Members First has also meant finding new ways to engage with as many retailers as we can and this year we have run more trade shows and open days than ever before.
Our mission is simple.
To support members at all times and to better equip them to face the challenges of an ever changing retailing landscape.
Through an improved programme of trade shows, open days and social events we have introduced independent retailers to new initiatives and opportunities to develop their businesses. We have opened their eyes to new sources of income and profit, given them face to face contact with senior management at the two main news wholesalers while all the time ensuring that the NFRN remains relevant to each and everyone of them.
Looking back to look forward
One year ago and on this very stage I delivered my inaugural President’s address.
It was then that I revealed my four objectives for the year ahead:
- To lead the Federation forward
- To continue to provide members with a service and with benefits that were tailored to their needs
- To ensure that during NEC and National council meetings the day to day issues that affect our members businesses were addressed
- At every opportunity to champion the cause of independent retailers.
Over the past 12 months I have tried to be true to my convictions.
Thank you for giving me the chance to put my energy and passion to work.
I have been fortunate to have a great NEC, great national council and great NFRN staff behind me. They know what has been needed of them and have got on with the job.
I must also thank my family and my branch and district colleagues for their fantastic backing.
I hope that you agree that by Putting Members First a renewed, reorganised and reinvigorated NFRN has emerged.
We cannot be complacent though. Our Federation must continue to evolve to meet the challenge of a changed and changing world.
NFRN members are entrepreneurial, dedicated and tenacious. We must equip them with the services, help and advice and benefits that they need to flourish.
And by Putting Members First I am convinced that the NFRN is more than capable of not only facing the challenges thrown at us but -more importantly – overcoming them.
The NFRN turns 100 next year and we must respect our past but also concentrate on the future.
We must continue to evolve, focusing on issues where we can make a difference and keeping complacency at bay so our members can prosper professionally and commercially.
Change is nothing to be scared about. It is exciting and empowering.
It has been a real honour to serve as your National President.
Tomorrow afternoon I hand the National President’s baton over to a very experienced colleague who is just as passionate as me about the NFRN and its members. I know Mike (Mitchelson) will continue to provide you with the best representation possible in an ever changing, more demanding marketplace.
Like me he believes in Putting Members First. This means supporting one another. After all, while we can do some things alone, together they can be great – and we can continue to shape the future of independent retailers.
I’m proud of what we have achieved to date.
And I now look forward to two days of lively debate on how best we as individual retailers and together as the NFRN can continue to progress.
Meet the new Deputy Vice President - Muntazir Dipoti
The NFRN caught up with North Western District President Muntazir Dipoti before he was confirmed as the new Deputy Vice President at this year’s Annual Conference.
After leaving school Muntazir Dipoti worked in the mortgage sector and in credit control but it wasn’t long before he figured out that a career in retailing would be more challenging and satisfying.
Fifteen years later he runs a total of eight shops around the North West with his brother Munaf. While much of his time is spent at one of the stores, Todmorden News in the market town of Todmorden, he regularly visits the other seven shops to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
At Todmorden News, Muntazir offers a very large home delivery service. In fact, he is the only retailer who delivers to the whole village, servicing more than 500 homes daily through 16 rounds. “I stock 50 newspaper titles and have a 10 metre run with 12 rows of magazines, making me the second best customer at my local Menzies!” he says.
Having purchased a somewhat rundown shop, but one that was ideally positioned on a busy main road, Muntazir set out to make it into a one stop shop.
“I wanted it to be a focal point for local people. I had inherited a limited range of products and a cigarette gantry that was only half full. The shop specialised in news and magazines, stocked only six flavours of crisps, and had one double fridge.
“During my first year I listened intently to what customers wanted and brought in new products to satisfy their demands. By the end of that year I also had a full floor to ceiling refit of the shop using the NFRN’s now defunct Model Shop programme.
“Now I stock grocery, pet food, greetings cards, wrapping paper and ice cream, and offer top ups and utility payments. I have a National Lottery terminal and have a reputation of being a ‘lucky shop’ as I have helped make two millionaires and have had two top Scratchcard winners. But I feel there is always room for improvement and am constantly looking for ways to develop my shop and service my customers better.”
Muntazir joined the NFRN in 2011 after experiencing issues with his wholesaler.
“The district president at the time invited me along to some of the meetings, which I was keen to do as I recognised that I could help others,” he said.
Since then, he has provided assistance to numerous colleagues, resolving issues that have ranged from late newspaper deliveries to flooded shops. He describes himself as ‘a conduit for members in the district to help resolve their problems’.
Since 2014 Muntazir has been a national councillor for the North West district and he was elected to the National Executive Committee in 2016, sitting on the public affairs and communications and the membership services committees.
Now, he looks forward to becoming national deputy vice president in June and assisting incoming National President Mike Mitchelson and vice president Stuart Reddish in their efforts to put members first.
“I want to do all I can to raise awareness of the challenges that independent retailers face on a daily basis and ensure that the relevant support is there for members when and where they it need most,” he explains.
As a relative youngster – Muntazir is 41 – he is confident he can bring a breath of fresh air to the role of deputy vice president, with new ideas coupled with a total commitment to members and the role.
“The NFRN motto, ‘Where’er one man can help another, thank God for such a birthright brother’, is my watchword for the next three years. Everything that I do will focus on making sure that members are fully aware of all the benefits and services that NFRN membership brings, and that a helping hand is just a phone call or email away.”
The little spare time that Muntazir has is devoted to the local community, supporting local events and a nearby hospice. He also sponsors a local under 18s football team and his shop name is carried on their shirts. “My donations help with the running of the club and purchase of kits,” he said.
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