Support for Plunkett’s Vision

Last week we introduced our Vision for a Covid-19 Rural Recovery with optimism, diversity and creativity at its heart. In the days that followed I have been delighted to see our values and aspiration for a thriving and resilient rural economy being so widely shared by a broad range of influential and respected individuals and organisations.

James Alcock

James Alcock
Chief Executive, Plunkett Foundation

For our vision of a full rural renaissance to become a reality the connections between individuals, community businesses and other organisations must be built upon. During the lockdown so many new and innovative networks have already been made, from suppliers and producers to policy makers and funders. Now we must continue to work together – from the decision makers in government to the staff and volunteers who make community businesses possible.

The endorsements our vision has already received are further examples of the collective action needed to ensure the very best can come out of the very worst of situations. Here are some examples of those who have already showed enthusiasm for our Rural Vision:

Plans for 2020 have and will keep significantly altering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as community businesses adapt to trading in a constantly shifting ‘new normal’, it’s vital they are supported through the challenging times to come.

From dealing with devastating floods to generating their own renewable energy, tackling rural isolation to becoming digitally connected, community businesses in rural areas face specific challenges and opportunities, on top of those created by the coronavirus crisis.

The Plunkett Foundation’s vision for a Covid-19 rural recovery is ambitious, innovative and most importantly embraces what makes community businesses unique – their ability to adapt to the needs of their communities. They have a significant role to play in helping rural economies recover and I’m delighted to see that reflected in the Plunkett Foundation’s priorities.

Vidhya Alakeson
CEO, Power to Change

Here at The Prince’s Countryside Fund, we wish to see thriving rural communities with farming at their heart. The Plunkett Foundation’s plan for communities’ post Covid-19 complements this entirely; promoting localized food supply chains which support farming families, fostering opportunities for business in rural areas, and, most importantly, embracing stewardship of the environment in its widest sense. We must not let the community spirit which the pandemic has galvanised over the past few months fall by the wayside, but instead harness the power of collaborative working to be at the heart of any fresh, positive and practical vision for the countryside.

Keith Halstead,
Executive Director, The Prince’s Countryside Fund

For over a hundred years, Plunkett has been working hard to strengthen rural communities to help them flourish in a changing world. This gives them a rich well of experience on which to draw in these turbulent and uncertain times, which they’ve put it to excellent use, in their new vision for a thriving rural economy. Investing in good work and training, improving digital connectivity, localising and diversifying food systems, and all with a focus on tackling the climate and nature emergencies, these are critical tasks for a countryside that works well for all of us.

Sue Pritchard ,
Chief Executive, The Food, Farming & Countryside Commission

The Plunkett Foundation leads the way in articulating a new vision for rural recovery across the UK. Love the way it compliments the thinking of much of the social enterprise sector about how we can build back better. Looking forward to making this happen together.

Jane Ryall,
Social Entrepreneur Support Manager, UnLtd

Plunkett has worked closely with DTAS’s Community Shares Scotland Programme for the past 6 years to help champion the community business model in Scotland. This collaboration manifested in a very successful community pubs and shops event in March this year, where we saw community entrepreneurs come together to share their experiences in delivering rural community enterprise.

Plunkett’s vision for a thriving and resilient rural economy complements well the enterprising and community-powered activity that development trusts and other community organisations are leading the way on in Scotland. DTAS looks forward to collaborating with Plunkett further in the future to help deliver this vision.

Louisa Macdonell,
Chief Executive, Development Trusts Association Scotland

At CPRE The countryside charity we want to see a thriving countryside which benefits us all. Strong, sustainable rural communities and economies are vital to this and to our ability to look after our rural environment. Particularly post-Covid it is vital that solutions and policies are developed which have rural interests at their heart, so I’m delighted to see this excellent and timely work by Plunkett who are the experts on how to ensure that rural community business is supported and developed so it can bring maximum benefit to rural life. At CPRE we welcome this new report and look forward to working with Plunkett and others to secure the best possible future for our countryside and rural communities

Crispin Truman, OBE
Chief Executive, CPRE, The countryside charity