At the end of 2022, a year in which the sector had grown by 3% with 27 new businesses opening, the number of trading community business stood at 768 – with community-owned pubs by far the fastest growing business type. 35% of all enquiries received by Plunkett Foundation last year were from groups wanting advice on how to safeguard their local pub, and 14 new community pubs opened in 2022.
Motivated by a mixture of reducing the operating costs and a commitment to climate action, the research has shown strong support amongst community businesses for installing Energy Saving Measures (ESMs) and making improvements to business premises. 85% of businesses surveyed have either installed or are currently considering installing ESMs. As a commitment to climate action 72% of businesses surveyed state that they were proactively ‘sourcing locally’ for goods and products as part of their operation. Whilst 44% are taking action to reduce their waste (e.g. reducing use of packaging).
Positively, 58% of businesses surveyed state that they believe they are more resilient due to being a community-owned business. However, the report does indicate short-term concern for the sector, with the majority businesses stating that rising wholesale prices and overhead costs, coupled with lower customer spend will detrimentally impact their turnover and profitability. Plunkett remains acutely aware of this situation and will continue to offer advice and support to all businesses via the universal community business service.