We are pleased to introduce Hastoe Housing Association, The Retail Mutual, The Phone Coop, Suma Wholefoods, BCRS Business Loans and The Co-op as our Individual Award sponsors for this year’s Rural Community Ownership Awards. We have also recently confirmed Triodos Bank as our first ‘Gold’ Award’s sponsor.

Ashley Sellwood, Communications and Marketing Officer at Plunkett, has been pleased to see a record number of Awards applications from community businesses: “We are delighted to have seen such a positive response to this year’s Rural Community Ownership Awards. Headline sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association, the Awards will mark the end of a really positive year for the Foundation. With a record number of applications received, we’re excited to share applications with our Awards judges later this month.”

Meet the sponsors

As well as supporting us in the applications process, they have been engaged with us throughout the process and will be present at the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 5th December in London.

Hastoe Housing Association (Headline Awards sponsor and sponsor of the ‘People’s Choice’ Award)

Hastoe Housing Association are regulars as our headline sponsor and are proud to be sponsoring the ‘People’s Choice’ Award again this year. The ‘People’s Choice’ Award will reward an outstanding individual who has contributed to their community business in a variety of ways. Anne McLoughlin, Operations Director at Hastoe Group, told us why Hastoe are excited to be working with us once again on the Rural Community Ownership Awards:

It’s a privilege for Hastoe to be able to sponsor the Rural Community Ownership Awards and celebrate the unique contribution of community businesses in Rural England. Hastoe’s vision is building sustainable homes in sustainable communities – we are passionate about providing affordable homes that help rural communities to thrive. That’s why we’re so keen to sponsor these awards, which recognise great projects, businesses and people who have made a positive difference in rural England and helped to keep these communities strong. It’s always a pleasure to see the high quality of entrants and the strength of community organisations in the countryside.”

Retail Mutual (‘Community Story of the Year’)

Sponsors of our ‘Community Story of the Year’ Award, Retail Mutual have previously sponsored in 2017 and are also a Plunkett Community Co-operative Member. Michelle Alderton, Marketing Executive at Retail Mutual, told us why they are excited to be sponsoring this award category:

“The Retail Mutual specialises in providing business cover to community shops. As a mutual, our ethos is based on passion, innovation and joining together for the benefit of our communities – values that echo those of the Plunkett Foundation and the communities and projects it supports. We are delighted to be sponsoring the ‘Community Story of the Year’ Award at the Foundation’s Rural Community Ownership Awards, recognising the achievements of businesses that go above and beyond their primary role within the community.”

The Phone Coop (‘Little Things’ Award)

After this year’s successful campaign focused on how community businesses support people experiencing loneliness and isolation we are proud to be rewarding a community business who do just this. Sponsored by The Phone Coop, the ‘Little Things’ Award will reward one community business who work to tackle isolation and loneliness in an accessible and effective way. Dip Patel, Business Marketing Manager at The Phone Coop, is excited to be on our Judging panel and meet finalists in December:

“We’re delighted to be supporting the Plunkett Foundation this year on the Rural Community Ownership Awards. At The Phone Coop, we are proud to have a long term partnership with the Plunkett Foundation, supporting both community businesses and the movement to thrive. We are particularly proud to sponsor the ‘Little Things’ Award this year, as our work providing rural communities with reliable broadband can be key to bringing people together. I look forward to joining the awards judges in late October and meeting shortlisted entrants in December.”

Suma Wholefoods (‘Investing in Local People’ Award)

Suma Wholefoods have regularly sponsored the Rural Community Ownership Awards, previously sponsoring the ‘Yorkshire and North East England’ Award in 2017. The ‘Investing in Local People’ Award will highlight the way one community business has enabled, supported and invested in their staff, customers and community. Nigel Kaye told us why, as a worker co-operative, they are excited to be a part of the Awards:

“As a worker owned co-op, it’s natural for Suma to sponsor the community ownership awards for another year. It’s an excellent way for us to support the new wave of people taking ownership of the things that matter to them in their local areas. A co-operative built on integrity and equality for over 40 years, we supply vegetarian everything right around the world, including to community owned shops up and down the country. We’re looking forward to celebrating this year’s range of inspirational communities.”

BCRS Business Loans (‘Diversifying to Make a Difference’ Award)

We are pleased to welcome back BCRS Business Loans this year who are sponsoring our ‘Diversifying to Make a Difference’ Award. This award highlights one community business who can demonstrating embracing both diversification and improving customer experience. Paul Kalinauckas, Chief Executive at BCRS Business Loans, is really looking forward to reading applications and meeting the finalists at the Ceremony in December:

“BCRS Business Loans is delighted to sponsor the Rural Community Ownership Awards 2018. As a Community Benefit Society ourselves we were established in 2002 to provide access to finance for small businesses. We are a great supporter of the Community Benefit Society Model and have now invested in withdrawable share capital in over 25 Societies. Diversification is vital to the ongoing success of any business and we are constantly amazed by the way so many Societies have responded to the needs of their local communities to ensure their sustainability.”

The Co-op (The Horace Plunkett ‘Better Business’ Award)

In appreciation of our founder, Sir Horace Curzon Plunkett, we are celebrating one community business with longevity and a proven track record for innovative business practice. Supported by The Co-op, we spoke to Ed Powell about why they are excited to be joining us for the Rural Community Ownership Awards this year:

“Our Co-op has always been run for the benefit of our millions of members and that’s why we can plough our profits back into local communities up and down the country. And at a time when there’s global concern about the transparency of big business, our ownership model has democratic accountability built-in to it. The UK would benefit greatly from more businesses that are run for a social purpose and where long-term sustainable decision making is the norm. We’re proving that an ethically driven approach to business, which puts people and planet first, can create commercial success.  It’s true for us and it can be true for the country as a whole.

We want to support other co-operatives and social enterprises to thrive. The Horace Plunkett Better Business Award is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of both commercial success and meaningful social impact amongst rural community businesses.”

Triodos Bank (Gold Award’s sponsor)

We are pleased to welcome Triodos Bank as our first ‘Gold’ Award’s sponsor, previously sponsoring at our 2016 Rural Community Co-operative Awards. Kate Donovan, Relationship Manager at Triodos Bank, told us why they are excited to be working with us once again:

Triodos Bank finance a range of community based organisations that value more than just profit – from pubs to housing co-operatives. We fully recognise the positive outcomes that can be achieved when communities are empowered to take control of their own neighbourhoods. That’s why we’re helping an increasing number of communities to secure valued assets for the ongoing and future benefit and enjoyment of local people and that’s why we’re proud to sponsor Plunkett’s 2018 Rural Community Ownership Awards.”

Interested in sponsoring our Awards?

If your organisation is interested in becoming our Drinks Reception Sponsor or a Gold/ Silver/ Bronze sponsor, please visit our Sponsorship section for further details including our handy sponsorship document.