Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Plunkett has seen some of its busiest time responding to enquiries from Community Businesses.

Many of the businesses we are supporting are finding they’re in the same boat and Plunkett have endeavoured to be on hand to help steady the ship and re-set the compass, ready to navigate the next wave.  It’s also been reassuring to see so many businesses support one another in the quest to make it home and dry.

Plunkett’s Facebook pages for shops and pubs, in particular, have been awash with activity and practical advice and operational tips for those who are going through the motions or have already ‘been there and done that’.  Questions about takeaway service, to EPOS systems, staffing, policies, legislation and stock have all been helpfully answered by those in the know and for businesses that have requested more in-depth support, our advisers have been on hand to offer funded 1:1 remote support.

Thanks to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF), provided to us by the National Lottery Community Fund, many new and existing community businesses have already been able to benefit from half a day to a day of remote support with a Plunkett adviser. The support is not just a quick Zoom meeting, our advisers are always passionately interested in the support assigned to them and are hugely skilled in pulling together the most useful resources, templates and links from their extensive toolbox.  Many of our advisers have themselves been involved in community businesses, so can steer in the right direction through mentoring and action planning, or more specialist areas such as legal structures, governance, staffing, community share offers and more.

Currently we are supporting a high number of new and existing community shops and shop groups (who’ve seen a period of trade close to that of snow days or Christmas!) and that are meeting a real and pressing need in their local communities.  One such group is Calstock Essential Supply Point, a temporary community shop set up in the village hall in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Many businesses have had to adapt quickly and that includes new-start groups that are at the stage of engaging their local community and we’re working closely with businesses like Crackington Village Shop to help progress their share offer and take forward their plans for a Community Shop.

Other UK based community business models are being supported too – a farm in Northern Ireland will receive mentoring from a similar business, a pub in Scotland will receive support with their pub and café offering and similarly in Wales, a pub with a shop and café is being helped to review their business plan.

With this funding, we’re keen to help more community businesses weather the storm. If you know a Community Businesses that could benefit from funded support in this way, please get in touch by email or by calling 01993 810730.