TWENTY ONE community-owned businesses from across the UK are finalists for national awards to recognise some of the most inspiring enterprises of their kind.

Businesses including two farms, a woodland, a community hub and a number of pubs and shops are all up for the 2019 Rural Community Business Awards. The awards aim to celebrate and raise awareness of the unique contributions community businesses make to creating resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities.

The awards are arranged by national charity the Plunkett Foundation – which helps rural communities to tackle the issues they face, through promoting and supporting community business.

James Alcock, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “Each and every one of the finalists are a great example of people working together to make life in their own community better. Community businesses in rural areas can be a lifeline to the people they serve. The issues of isolation and loss of amenities are well known and these awards show that community businesses – of many different kinds – do so much as they tackle these issues.

“Community businesses are breathing new life into rural communities across the UK and 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. A diverse range of businesses entered the 2019 awards including farms, pubs, cafés, shops and woodlands.

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 being 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 a real honour to be involved in these awards and to see the huge variety of community businesses transforming the country. All of the finalists for these awards are extremely impressive and truly deserve this accolade.”

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.”
The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 27 November at Burlington House in London.

Winners will take away a cheque for £250.

2019 award finalists