Community shop and post office manager, Karen Loftus, from Berrynarbor Community Enterprise, Devon, has won a national award for her work, commitment and passion in supporting Berrynarbor’s local community throughout the pandemic.

Karen was presented with the award for Community Contribution from Dame Prue Leith DBE, restaurateur, chef and presenter, and Thakeham, sponsors of the award.

The Award represents one of seven inspirational community-business award winners from across the UK to be recognised for their outstanding contribution to their communities and as the most inspiring enterprises/people of their kind by the Plunkett Foundation through its Rural Community Business Awards. The awards are held annually by UK charity the Plunkett Foundation – which supports rural communities to tackle issues of isolation, loneliness, jobs and wellbeing, through community-owned business.

Karen was nominated not only by the community shop committee but the testimonies of several villagers. They praised her resilience during the pandemic – going above and beyond for the benefit of her customers and the vulnerable within Berrynarbor. Karen, working with her volunteers kept the shop open, organised telephone ordering, home deliveries and provided a local shop to support local producers. The committee wanted Karen’s work and the work of her wonderful volunteers recognised for keeping the heart of their village beating.

James Alcock, Chief Executive at Plunkett Foundation, said: “Karen’s commitment to serving her village community is second to none. From an emergency response to the pandemic, sourcing locally and supporting local businesses to following guidelines to keep volunteers and customers safe. She is an inspiration and a worthy winner of this award.”


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