New Horizons for the water cooler industry in 2017


View from the stage of the 2016 BWCA conference

The leading annual water cooler event, the British Water Cooler Association Conference and Trade Show, is being held in March and this year takes as its theme ‘New Horizons: Plan to Win’. The keynote speaker this year will be the former Director of Coaching for British Athletics – Frank Dick OBE. The event takes place on Thursday 23rd March 2017 at The Nottingham Belfry.

With Team GB’s outstanding Olympics’ success of last year still fresh in our minds, the British Water Cooler Association is promising delegates attending its 2017 conference what it believes will be a winning presentation.

Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, General Manager of the British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) says; “Winning isn’t a matter of luck. It takes planning. The aim of this year’s event is to provide practical guidance and encouragement to companies to help them plan for continuing growth, to plan for greater sustainability and to plan for new, global opportunities, especially following the vote to leave Europe and during the planning and negotiations for Brexit”.

The British Water Cooler Association annual conference and trade show is a key fixture in the water cooler industry’s calendar – not just for UK companies but attracting delegates and exhibitors from across the world and so the Brexit theme is an important one to consider.

The keynote speaker, Frank Dick, is renowned as a motivational speaker both for business and sports. His expertise derives from many years as director of Coaching for British Athletics when Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett had their hey-day. He has also coached such superstars as Daley Thompson, Gerhard Berger, Katarina Witt and Boris Becker.

“Winning,” says Frank Dick “is being better today than yesterday – every day”. In his book, called simply ‘Winning’  he writes: “Without doubt, the toughest of all games is change. Some people would say that it is the only game. Change, then, is the game that must be won. The truth is, that in everything we do, be it in our personal, family, social or business lives, whatever our talents and skills, there is a constant need to be in control of change and its effects.”

In addition to the talk by Frank Dick, the BWCA’s  Chairman John Dundon  will speak about the sector and review the year. His is always a lively and inspirational talk and keenly anticipated by Members and other guests attending the one-day event.

Another highlight of the event is the opportunity to learn about the trends in the market and hear at first hand the predictions from the leading researchers in the field, Zenith Global whose research analyst, Karen Wells, will be revealing exclusively to the conference the latest industry data for the water cooler sector.

Last year she reported that the total market (in 2015) was valued at £123 million, with a 5% revenue growth compared with 2014. Zenith had seen growth of 1.5% for the number of water coolers installed in the UK. After bouncing back in 2014, the growth in volume and value has continued for bottled water coolers (BWCs) compared with mains-fed (POU) units.  She also noted that, for health reasons, consumers and employers continued to turn to water for calorie-free hydration. Will the same trends have continued last year (2016) and what will be the predictions for the coming year?

Karen Wells of Zenith addresses the 2016 conference

Karen Wells of Zenith addresses the 2016 conference

Also addressing the conference will be Brendan Hanlon, Head of Fundraising and Communications for Just a Drop – the Association’s chosen charity. It will have been just a year ago that the BWCA formally announced its first Corporate Social Responsibility programme.  It had originally been  anticipated that Members and the Association would take a year to raise the monies for the first project in aid of Just a Drop. Yet the generosity of the industry was such that all the funds – and more – to create a borehole for a village in Africa were raised in just one day. Brendan Hanlon will be showing just what a difference the BWCA made to one village in Zambia and expressing the hope that the 2017 conference, trade show and gala dinner will raise money for the next project funded by BWCA.

John Dundon said: “Raising funds to help people in Africa to enjoy safe, clean water in villages where currently there is none is something of which we can be proud. It is a good feeling to give something back to those who have so little. In the UK we take it for granted that we can have access to safe drinking water. As well as doing good, this initiative benefits us too,  in that it reminds us how very fortunate we are to have safe water”. The Gala Dinner closing the event will again feature a charity auction in aid of Just a Drop.

The conference is a ticketed event. For details and to book visit

Trade Show – free to enter

The other highlight of the day will be the afternoon trade show with free-entry business seminars. This year, following the keynote speech, the overall theme is Plan to Win. There will be three seminars:

13:30 – 14:00 “Plan to be a better boss” – a company’s most important asset is usually its employees.  Delegates will receive pointers on how to develop a strong and harmonious team.

14:30 – 15:00 “Plan your technology for tomorrow’s success” – whether you struggle with the application of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) or just want to get better, this session is for you.  Delegates will learn how to ensure their businesses are as efficient as possible.

15:30 – 16:00 “Plan to win through training” – often a neglected area, the session will reveal some of the benefits of training and development and how these deliver a commercial return.

BWCA General Manager, Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, said: “The 2016 event was the most successful to date and we are determined to make the 2017 trade show and conference even better. We have an excellent line-up of speakers and, even at this early stage, a large number of exhibition bookings. In what is undoubtedly a challenging yet exciting year for British businesses, the Association is here to provide support, inspiration, training and guidance to help keep our Members at the top of their game. They are the crème de la crème of the sector and our role, as an Association, is to help them become ever stronger.”

Golf – Wednesday 22nd March

This year, the BWCA Golf Day is being held at the Sherwood Forest Golf Club.  Open both to Members and non-members it promises to be a fun day out:

  • Coffee and bacon rolls
  • Complimentary golf balls
  • Pre-Clinic session with a female PGA professional
  • Hole 4: Hole-in-one (prize = 5* golfing holiday to Spain)
  • Hole 10: Beat the female Pro (prize = designer golf gift) and hole-in-one challenge (prize = 5* holiday to Mauritius)
  • Nearest the pin, longest drive, team and individual prizes


Phillipa Atkinson-Clow said: “Every year, our conference and trade show become stronger and the attendance numbers rise steadily. We could not manage to stage the event in the way that we do without the support of so many fantastically generous sponsors, all drawn from the Association’s membership. These nine Members feel it offers them a positive showcase for their companies as this year every aspect available for sponsorship was adopted in record time. I thank all of them”. The  2017 event sponsors are as follows:

Conference sponsor:  Pureflo

Trade Show sponsor:  Crystal Mountain

Gala Dinner sponsor:  4 Aces

Charity Auction sponsor:  Database Workshop

Conference Lunch sponsor:  H20 Direct

Chairman’s Welcome Supper sponsor:  Angel Springs

Golf sponsor:  Ebac

Signage sponsor:  Bericap

Casino sponsor:  Calomax

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For 2017 booking details, as well as video highlights of the 2016 conference, visit and for information email