At Plunkett UK, we are proud to promote this by creating safe and welcoming spaces for all.

In 2023, Plunkett published its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the context of the work it does to support new groups and trading community businesses across the UK.

Our ambition is to reach areas where community ownership is currently underrepresented with an ambition to address social and economic deprivation and other hidden needs, such as poor mental health, loneliness and isolation that exists in the countryside.

We also want to inspire community businesses to benefit, engage or be led by individuals currently underrepresented or who are facing marginalisation.

Statistics from Plunkett UK’S ‘Community Ownership: A Better Form of Business’ 2023

  • 14% of community businesses offer employment for people with a disability or long-term health condition

  • 33% offer employment for whom it was their first paid job

  • 31% offer volunteer opportunities for people with additional support needs, or who have a disability and/or long-term health condition

Barkers of Huby Community Shop

Promoting inclusion and a welcoming space at Kingsley Village Shop

A nominee for the ‘Volunteers Award’ at Plunkett UK’s Rural Community Business Awards 2023, demonstrated outstanding examples of how their shop embodies this impact!

For over 35 years, Kingsley Village Shop has been developing therapeutic and a person-centred approach that underpins a range of innovative programmes, including support, training, and personal development for individuals with disabilities.

Empowering adults with disabilities to thrive!

Through their mentoring and work experience, these volunteers work tirelessly in the shop, garden, or on the reception, whilst building their confidence and independent living skills.

They say that their community hub not only offers a “world of work experience”, but also promotes inclusion, challenges stereotypes, and breaks down barriers.

Volunteer at Kingsley Village Shop

Community-owned businesses often act as gateways of opportunity for people living locally; to get involved and feel included through the service they provide.

The network also has a strong track record of fostering integration, with residents from all backgrounds able to have a stake in a business that trades for their benefit locally.

Another great insight!

Upper Eskdale Development Group (UEDG) is a community business set up for the benefit of the 300 residents of a small community who live within the parish of Esdalemuir, in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Old School Hub and Café that they run is a great example of how a group can put inclusion at the heart of their operating model.

As a way of bringing people together, they run a variety of courses, provide arts facilities and exhibitions, rental space for therapies, businesses, and local meetings.

They aim to be a focal point for other community development locally, across a wide range of themes for all sections of the community, including Social Care and Affordable Housing.

Volunteers at Fordhall Farm

Like many other community businesses doing similar, UEDG set-up Warm Hub, in response to the cost of living crisis. The hub is available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11am till 2pm during the winter.

This is a safe space where members of the community, and beyond, can expect a warm welcome, get cosy by the fire, and enjoy a hot drink, free of charge.

Without this facility there would be nothing to bring people together. It prevents isolation and promotes wellness in an incredibly small community in Scotland that could otherwise become cut off.

Join the movement: Become a member today

If you share our vision for a vibrant rural economy with community business at heart, why not join Plunkett as a member?

Your membership, which for individuals’ costs just £20 per year, will support our ambition to grow the community ownership movement across the nation.

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