Businesses including a farm, a woodland, a community hub, a cafe and pubs and shops have been recognised. The awards celebrate and raise awareness of the unique contributions community ownership can make to creating resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities. The Plunkett Foundation says community businesses are having a positive impact both socially and economically on rural life – bringing communities together to own and run their own enterprises.
James Alcock, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said:
“Community businesses are breathing new life into rural communities across the UK. When a small town, village or hamlet faces the loss of a local amenity it can be a devastating blow to the residents that use it. Often community ownership is the answer, as we have seen with the shops and pubs that we have recognised with our awards.”
“But it is not just pubs and shops. Community ownership can work for a diversity of enterprises. We have seen farms and woodlands which offer services that can and do have a real social impact through original ideas. It is an enormous pleasure for the Plunkett Foundation to be able to celebrate some of the outstanding individual stories with these awards.”
Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community.
The Plunkett Foundation is marking its centenary year. Since 2013 the charity has been recognising community businesses with their annual awards. This year the awards feature seven categories – all of which celebrate the achievements of groups across the country who have come together in community organisations and found the answer to the challenges they face through community businesses.
The awards are presented in partnership with Power to Change – the independent trust that supports community businesses in England – and is sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association.
Vidhya Alakeson, Power To Change Chief Executive, said:
“It is an honour to be a partner in these inspiring awards and help to recognise the work of such inspiring and dedicated people. Community businesses can be a real lifeline in rural communities – a shop, pub or post office do so much more than sell goods, they keep people connected. Many congratulations to all of these very deserving winners.”
The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 27 November at Burlington House in London.
George Parkinson, Operations Director at Hastoe Housing Association, said:
“As England’s leading provider of affordable rural homes, we know there is much more to creating communities than just building homes. Community businesses often provide the only opportunity for people living in rural areas to come together. In providing work, volunteering opportunities and much needed services, they create the conditions for communities to thrive.”
“These Awards play a vital role in recognising many of the great projects, businesses and people who continue to make a positive difference in their community.”
Winners were presented with a cheque for £250.