The Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme is inviting community businesses across East Anglia to apply for grants of up to £1,000 to help them get through the winter months.

This initial £15,000 allocation of funding forms part of a £50,000 extension of the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme – a partnership between East Anglian housebuilder Hopkins Homes and the Plunkett Foundation.

The scheme, which was extended last month following a successful phase last summer, has already provided support to more than 35 community-owned shops, pubs and businesses in East Anglia.

The Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme is available to not only provide grant funding for a selection of successful applicants but also to provide free support and expertise from the charity’s central support service and network of advisors. Guidance is provided on issues ranging from governance, cash flow advice, business planning, volunteer recruitment, management, accessing funding and navigating government support schemes.

In addition, £10,000 of the fund will be ring-fenced specifically to provide specialist support to communities seeking to set up a new community-run pub, following news that 2,500 pubs across the UK closed their doors in the last year.

For further information about these grants please contact Plunkett Foundation support@plunkett.co.uk or call 0845 557 1469.

James Hopkins, Executive Chairman and Founder of Hopkins Homes said: “We are thrilled to be inviting community-run businesses across East Anglia to apply for grants from our £50,000 Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme, especially as we head into the winter months.

“These vibrant and resilient businesses are vitally important and proved a lifeline to so many communities during the pandemic. That’s why we are passionate about supporting them and want to see them thrive in the future for years to come.”

Wrabness Community Shop and Bar, in Wrabness, is one of many community businesses which received free practical advice supported by Hopkins Homes and provided by Plunkett’s experienced team of advisors.

James Alcock, Plunkett’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to receive the continued support of Hopkins Homes. Through the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme over the past 18 months the funding and support provided has been invaluable to many community-run organisations. The scheme has helped community businesses to find solutions to staff shielding, establish new services such as home delivery or take-away, it has fundamentally helped communities to provide a lifeline to many vulnerable residents.

“The new grant scheme will help residents in East Anglia who want to start a new community business or trading community businesses to diversify activities, reducing the long term impact of Covid-19. Activities funded will need to be in response to their community’s specific needs.”

The Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme has been recognised by the prestigious Charity Times 2021 Awards having been shortlisted in the Corporate Community Local Involvement category.

For more information on how to apply for the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme grant, email: support@plunkett.co.uk or call Plunkett on 0845 5571469