2020 has been a year like no other, so instead of a traditional awards ceremony, Plunkett celebrated the resilience and adaptability of the community business sector at our Virtual Community Business Fete on 24 November. The day showcased the lockdown stories of five community businesses, panel discussions, the announcement of our Community Contribution award winner and the premiere of our flagship Rural Recovery film.

Lockdown story – Bretforton Community Shop

Over 300 people own Bretforton shop, and during lockdown the village’s engagement was highlighted by an influx of new volunteers. A new online system supported deliveries, and volunteers were able to co-ordinate extra services such as prescription distributions and ready meals cooked by local chefs. Christopher Buckham, Chair of the shop, says ‘it was a whole village effort, with the shop at the heart of it’. Bretforton Shop has proven that it has provided true value to the community, and they now have ambitions to expand the shop and introduce green initiatives.

Lockdown story – Cletwr Community Shop

Cletwr Shop has been busy during lockdown, opening over 100 new accounts and serving lots of new customers! The shop has made a huge effort to stay connected to the community, and facilitated virtual tours and online help with email ordering forms. This has particularly been a lifeline for elderly customers as their families have been able to shop for them remotely. Karen Evans, Cletwr’s manager, highlighted how their work has been crucial for wellbeing and mental health support within the community, whether this has been a friendly face for customers, or dissecting owl pellets over Zoom for children.

Lockdown story – The New Inn

The New Inn Community Pub played an important role in the community response to Covid-19 by opening a shop during lockdown. By utilising different supply chains via the pub’s wholesalers, they were able to stock products like the much in-demand toilet roll and flour. Isolation and loneliness is an issue in this rural Warwickshire farming community, and exasperated even more by Covid restrictions so, when allowed to open, the pub garden was a much needed and valued space for the community to come together. Takeaway meals were also provided, using local suppliers, which were particularly appreciated by local families and elderly residents.

Lockdown story – Brent Knoll Community Shop 

Brent Knoll lost their village post office and shop recently, and so came together as a community to open Brent Knoll Community Shop as an emergency response to Covid-19 (in just 10 days from lockdown being announced!). Community engagement has been key, with regular community bake-offs and weekly outdoor coffee mornings and music events helping to reduce isolation and loneliness. They have been overwhelmed by the support from the community and involvement from volunteers, from the general day-to-day running of the shop to providing home grown fruit and veg from their gardens!

Lockdown story – Clapham Community Shop

Clapham shop jumped into action to make some quick decisions about how to run in light of Covid-19 restrictions and challenges. Their delivery service became very popular very quickly. With many shops facing supply chain issues, Clapham turned to local suppliers. It wasn’t just food being delivered, volunteers arranged prescription deliveries and provided a much-needed friendly face the front door, which in turn helped with loneliness and local support systems. The shop focused on their communications, both internally and externally, which led to improved running and operations, and better community and customer engagement.

Rural Recovery Film

Our flagship film brings to life Plunkett’s Vision for a Covid-19 Rural Recovery. Through the stories and experiences of real businesses, Plunkett’s new film points to five key opportunities for existing and new communities to contribute to a robust rural recovery. They are:

  • Leading the way in the re-localisation of supply chains, including supply of local food
  • Unleashing the potential to boost employment and training opportunities
  • Enhancing business performance and customer retention through digital technologies
  • Refreshing and diversifying the volunteer network
  • Harnessing positive environmental impact through community business.

The rural vision film features the stories of:

Community Contribution Award Winner

The Community Contribution award recognises and celebrates individuals involved with a community-owned business, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the recent months of lockdown, in order to support their communities.

We are delighted to announce that Ted Euers was chosen by you as the winner! Ted has been working tirelessly for community pub Ye Olde Cross, leading on funding applications, a refurb project and acting as the glue holding everyone together. 

Runners up were Lesley Shaikh from Lodsworth Larder, and Stella Hadley from Pepys Social Supermarket. Lesley recruited 30 new volunteers over lockdown, and worked hard to keep the shop thriving, tackling isolating along the way! With a kind and personal touch, Stella supported residents in Deptford through a membership based scheme aimed at reducing food poverty.

Our sincere thanks to our all sponsors for enabling this virtual event to take place.