The partnership between East Anglian based Hopkins Homes and national charity Plunkett Foundation, has already provided support to the region’s community businesses during the pandemic. The extra funding will help these essential businesses get through the winter months.
This significant donation follows news that 2,500 pubs across the UK have closed their doors in the last year. As a result, £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.
Through the scheme, enterprises owned by local communities can access expert advice and support from Plunkett Foundation’s network of inhouse and external advisors. Guidance is provided on issues ranging from governance, cash flow advice and business planning, to volunteer recruitment and management, to accessing funding and navigating government support schemes.
So far, the scheme has supported more than 35 community-owned shops, pubs and businesses in East Anglia.
James Hopkins, Executive Chairman and Founder of Hopkins Homes said: “We are exceptionally pleased to be extending our Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme, especially after hearing the worrying news that 2,500 pubs across the UK permanently closed their doors last year.
“Many community-run businesses have shown admirable resilience in finding ways to adapt their operations to meet the needs of their local area. These organisations have proved a lifeline to many and we are determined to support them and help the local communities.”
As well as support and advice, the donation will include a grant fund which community-run businesses will be able to apply to for help with specific projects.
During the pandemic the scheme focused on helping community-run businesses adapt to changing demands and guidelines. The Swan at Gressenhall, Norfolk was one such business to receive free practical advice supported by Hopkins Homes and provided by Plunkett’s experienced team of advisors.
In addition, The Duke of Marlborough, Somersham Community Pub in Suffolk was awarded a grant of nearly £1,000 to go towards increasing cold storage capacity. And £700 was given to The Locks Inn, Geldeston, Norfolk for the purchase of gardening equipment to keep the outdoor area tidy.
James Alcock, Plunkett’s Chief Executive, said: “We are honoured to be a part of the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme and have been delighted by the hugely positive impact we have already seen across East Anglia.
“The support from Hopkins Homes has proved invaluable to many community-run organisations during the pandemic. It has helped community businesses find solutions to staff shielding, establish new services such as home delivery or take-away, and be a lifeline to many vulnerable residents.
“The specific fund for new community-run pubs is essential to support the future of the industry. Setting up a community-run pub poses different challenges and through this funding our experts will be able to help guide any East Anglian communities hoping to save or revitalise their local pub.”
Support and advice for community groups in East Anglia is available now and grant applications will be taken from November 2021. For more information on the support and funding available, email firstname.lastname@example.org.