Two comprehensive reports on community shops and co-operative pubs have been published (5 July 2017) by Plunkett Foundation, the leading support organisation for community-owned shops and pubs which has been promoting co-operation in rural communities for nearly 100 years.

The reports, titled ‘Community Shops: A better form of business’ and ‘Co-operative Pubs: A better form of business,’ provide the most comprehensive research available on the performance and impact of these enterprises.
The research shows that at the end of 2016:

  • There were 348 community shops trading in the UK providing essential services to 1,400 remote rural communities
  • Community shops created 1,114 paid jobs and 9,605 volunteer positions
  • Community shops generated a combined turnover of £54m and donated £125,000 to community projects
  • No community shops have closed within the last two years, resulting in a 95% long term survival rate
  • The co‑operative pub sector had grown by 15% with six new pubs opening during the year
  • 46 co‑operative pubs were trading, widely spread across England and Wales[the 50th co-operative pub started trading in June 2017]
  • 90 groups were actively exploring setting up a co-operative pub
  • No co‑operative pubs had closed maintaining an impressive 100% survival rate

Community shops and co-operative pubs are independent democratic businesses owned and ultimately controlled by their members on the basis of one member one vote, regardless of the number of shares owned.

The reports analyse the innovative ways in which these organisations respond to the needs of their communities and in return how the communities support them.

James Alcock, General Manager at Plunkett Foundation, said: “Community co-operatives are a great leveller – they bring people together of all ages, backgrounds, interests, and give them a purpose to interact. This can benefit new residents who want to meet their neighbours, young parents who feel isolated at home, teenagers seeking work and life experience, the retired seeking opportunities to remain active, and those who live alone or are carers and have no other way of meeting people. Put simply, community shops and co-operative pubs reduce social isolation and loneliness.”

The reports are based on data sourced from the Financial Conduct Authority and Companies House, electronic questionnaires and follow-up telephone surveys, and additional information held by Plunkett Foundation on every community shop and co-operative pub. The data collection, analysis, and written reports were undertaken by Plunkett Foundation and supported by data provided by Co‑operatives UK. This work was funded by The Power to Change Research Institute.

James Alcock added: “I would like to thank the many people involved in community shops and co-operative pubs who contributed to the reports by taking part in surveys, sending photographs, and telling their stories. We also thank our funders and partners who help us to sustain our services.”

Plunkett Foundation represents a network of over 500 rural community co-operatives that are trading in all parts of the UK. It supports these organisations to thrive and help communities explore the idea of a community co-operative. It aims to grow this sector by raising awareness of the co-operative model to more communities and reach geographic areas and individuals most in need.

Co-operative Pubs: A better form of business 2017

Community Shops: A better form of business 2017


Media Enquiries please contact:
Ashley Sellwood, 01993 810730 /

Photographs are available upon request.

Notes to Editors:

Plunkett Foundation ( helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them together. We support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. They help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.

About Power to Change
Power to Change is an independent charitable trust endowed with £150 million from the Big Lottery Fund to grow community business in England. Over ten years, we will provide funding and support to help build many more successful and sustainable local community businesses across England.