2019 is a landmark year for Plunkett Foundation, and indeed the whole community business sector.

On 17th January 1919, Sir Horace Plunkett signed an indenture which became the original trust deed for the Plunkett Foundation. Sir Horace believed strongly in the power of co-operation to achieve sustainable local development and the purpose of the Foundation was to promote the model of community ownership as a solution to rural problems. The fact that 100 years later communities throughout the UK and beyond are increasingly using this model as a means of safeguarding or reintroducing local services and assets is testament to the vision of Sir Horace and the resilience of the model itself.

To mark the centenary, we will be holding a series of events throughout 2019 and launching enhanced services and new collaborations across the sector.

We hope that all of our members, supporters, beneficiaries and partners, will also want to mark this milestone with us.  They are, of course, the cornerstone of what we have been able to achieve over the years. Plunkett could not have succeeded without the involvement of community business volunteers and shareholders, as well as the advocates and funders of community businesses and of Plunkett itself. We are sure that Sir Horace would be proud of what has been achieved over the course of a century and we thank everyone for all they have done in creating a thriving sector. We look forward to continuing to work with you all in the future.

James Alcock, Executive Director, said:

“Over the course of 100 years, the Foundation has constantly evolved its services in response to the changing environment in which rural communities operate, and in order to help them respond to the challenges of the time. What has remained constant over the century is the resilience of rural communities themselves, and the application of co-operative principles to help themselves through the model which today we refer to as community business. The centenary year is a timely opportunity to be launching new initiatives from our 2018-22 strategy, which will strengthen support for community business and I look forward to sharing further details throughout the year”.

Margaret Clark CBE, Chair of Plunkett Foundation, said:

“It is a tribute to Sir Horace’s forward thinking that his vision of communities coming together to form and run their own businesses for the benefit of locally is still as strong today. Indeed, it is even more relevant as rural communities across the country face the challenges of the future.  But it also depends upon the extraordinary efforts of the people involved and I should like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed over the years – funders, partners, members, staff and Trustees for their help and support. At Plunkett Foundation, we look forward to carrying on the work started by Sir Horace into the future.”

Throughout January, and to kick start the centenary celebrations, Plunkett’s Staff and Trustees have been making visits to a number of community businesses in order to hear more about their own impacts in their communities and plans for meeting community needs. We will be sharing these stories, case studies and films across our social media channels using #Plunkett100 and encourage all our members and supporters to join us in sharing their own #Plunkett100 stories throughout the year.

We’d love your community business to be a part of our centenary celebrations by sharing your photos and videos with us so that we can share these across our social media channels and highlight what makes community businesses so special. Whether you’d like so share well-wishes, let us know how Plunkett helped you, or show us celebrations of a special landmark at your community business send us your photos, a short (15-25 seconds) video that you’ve filmed on your phone, or a written message. Simply click on this link to be taken to an open DropBox account where you can upload your files. If you have any problems with this please contact ashley.sellwood@plunkett.co.uk.