Award categories

This year, we have seven award categories for community businesses to apply for

Our awards, running since 2013, celebrate the very best characteristics and achievements of rural community businesses.

This year, we are pleased to announce that applications are now open for seven awards, including new category – ‘One to Watch’, recognising a community group that is up and coming in the community business sector.

Groups are encouraged to read the award categories below and tell us about the good work they’ve done. This is your opportunity to celebrate your achievements and be recognised as one of the most inspiring community businesses in the sector!

Winners of the awards will be presented with a cheque for £250.

Award categories

Here’s a list of the award categories we’re showcasing this year:

Every year, we look to reward an outstanding individual who has contributed so much to their community business in a variety of ways. Whether they put 101% into the business, have turned the business around or simply stand out from the rest, this is the chance for them to be recognised. Sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association, you can find out about last year’s winners here.

We know that community businesses are not content with ‘just running essential services’, and are always striving to diversify the services they provide for the benefit of local people. Sponsored by BCRS Business Loans, this Award celebrates a community business which has embraced diversification and is able demonstrate how it has improved its customers’ experience and the lives of the people in the local community. Find out about last year’s winners here.

Previously ‘The Little Things’ Award, this Award will celebrate one stand-out community business that is tackling loneliness and isolation in rural areas in an accessible and effective way. You may have established a new activity, created a social space to help bring people together or made steps towards tackling ‘hidden loneliness’ in your community. Or perhaps your community business might be offering drop-in sessions to help individuals learn IT skills so that they can connect with friends and family and keep connected. Find out about last year’s winners here.

We know local residents provide so much support to community businesses across the UK in order to enable them to become sustainable, thriving and community-focused. Sponsored by Suma, this Award is looking to recognise the efforts of a community business which goes above and beyond to support and invest in its staff and volunteers. Examples might include volunteer training schemes, social events and up-skilling your employees. Find out about last year’s winners here.

New this year, our ‘One to Watch’ Award will recognise a community business which is close to, or has recently, opened its doors for trading. We are aware that there are a number of fantastic community groups, who have a great vision for their community business, but are only in the early stages of their journey. Sponsored by The Retail Mutual, this award is for a group that has fought against the odds to get their community business off the ground and are set to have a big positive impact on their local community. The ‘One to Watch’ offers those community groups the opportunity to be nationally recognised and celebrate their story so far.

The idea that rural communities can find solutions to their needs through cooperation and enterprise go back to the pioneering work of our founder, Sir Horace Plunkett. This award celebrates a great example of a community business that’s achieved exactly that. The winner of this award will be a community business that’s evolved over time, putting in place innovative business practices that respond to local needs and expectations, and has a plan for continues development in the future. Find out about last year’s winners here.

We are always in awe of the way community businesses provide additional support and services to local people. Sponsored by Triodos Bank, this Award is looking to recognise stories that capture how community businesses often go the extra mile when it comes to supporting individuals and community life. This might be delivering a service for groups or individuals who are disadvantaged in some way, or supporting the community at times of adversity.

Applications for the 2019 awards are now closed

Previous Award winners

Get inspiration and hear about our 2018 award winners.

Previous Award winners