Plunkett UK is commencing our annual state of sector research, ‘Community Ownership: A Better Form of Business’. We’re asking all trading community businesses to respond to a survey to help us understand how they’re faring.

‘Community Ownership: A Better Form of Business’ is a series of research reports that have been completed annually by the Plunkett UK since 2011.

The reports state the needs and health of the community business sector, trends in growth and services, and the important social, economic and environmental impact that community businesses create across the UK.

Reports from previous years can be found in the reports section of our website.

Why are we doing this research?

The purpose of the survey is to:

  • Help existing community businesses benchmark their business against others in the sector

  • Offer information and inspiration to new and developing community businesses

  • Inform Plunkett’s own strategic implementation of training and support

  • Provide an evidence base for our advocacy work influencing national policy makers, in order to improve funding, legislation and policy for the benefit of community businesses across the UK.

In 2024, it’s clear that the cost of living crisis isn’t going anywhere, with many businesses still struggling to combat financial pressures. With a general election expected this year, we want to be ready to present politicians with the facts about how community businesses are faring.

Financial data for the report will be gathered by us separately through annual returns submitted to the FCA and Companies House.

Who should fill in the survey?

The survey is open to all community businesses in all four UK nations. We welcome responses whether you are trading as a shop, pub, farm, woodland, or any other type of business.

All trading community businesses will have been sent a personalised link to the survey, containing a pre-filled version of the form, to save you time.

If you haven’t received yours, contact A blank version of the form can be found here.

  • We recommend that a member of your management committee is likely to be best placed to answer the questions, but we have also made provisions if you felt that a manager or tenant is more able to do so.

  • There are 13 questions that should take around 15 minutes to complete.

  • The deadline for responses is Tuesday 4th June 2024.

Why does it matter?

Without this research, we would not be able to communicate the needs and the impact of community businesses on a UK-wide scale. In the past, we have used this information to inform the Scottish and Welsh administrations about their policies relating to community assets, as well as the UK government.

Our specialist experience in working in rural areas has most recently taken on board by politicians and policy makers. In recent years, our efforts with partners have borne fruit, resulting in the Community Ownership Fund, the Wales Community Assets Inquiry by the Senedd, and a commitment to incorporate community ownership into Community Wealth Building by the Scottish Government.

This research is not just for those “at the top”, though. Every year, developing community projects read these reports to learn about the community ownership business model. New and existing businesses reference the findings in business plans and funding applications, to demonstrate the benefits and robustness of their business model to funders and local authorities.

This is not “just” research; the ‘Better Form of Business’ series is a useful resource for everyone involved in community business.

Any questions?

Our research is constantly evolving. If you have any suggestions or queries about our research, get in touch with at

Support our work

We rely on our members, donors, funders and sponsors to fund our research and advocacy. If you share our vision for thriving, resilient rural communities then support us by donating or becoming a member today.

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