Plunkett Foundation is developing a new 5 year strategy, which will be launched in 2022. This will set out a continued commitment by the Foundation to grow the number of community-owned businesses UK-wide. As part of the development process, Plunkett has commissioned a piece of research which will help to define current “cold spots,” areas where Plunkett has supported fewer community businesses. This work will consider appropriateness of the community business model in these areas and help to consider solutions to create more innovative, impactful and inclusive community businesses during the strategy period.

Following a competitive tender process, the Rural Policy Centre at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been commissioned to complete this research on behalf of Plunkett Foundation. SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre has many years of experience of conducting research on issues of rural and regional development across the UK and will bring a range of specialist expertise to the work.

The research will be completed over a relatively short period, with the final report being launched in early 2022. It is intended that this body of work will be the first phase of a two part piece of work, with the second phase being much more focused on action learning and supporting more grassroots activity in the identified cold spots.

As part of the commission, SRUC will be reviewing all current data held by Plunkett Foundation, to map the cold spot areas and through their supporting research will consider the wider environment and the different policy landscapes across the UK that may be contributing factors. The work of partners and other organisations supporting community will also be a key consideration when reviewing our role in these areas.

Chris Cowcher, Head of Policy and Communications said

“We are really excited about this project, particularly as this initial piece of research will underpin so much of our work in 2022. SRUC have a well established reputation and previous experience of rural focussed research giving the project credibility from the word go. This is an ongoing process and we will be keen to engage community groups and others working in the community business sector, to test our learning and considered actions. This approach is intended to help Plunkett achieve the most impact we can, as we continue to support sector growth over the next 5 years and beyond.”

Dr Jane Atterton, Project Manager and Policy Researcher at SRUC said:

“This project fits well with the work of SRUC. It is not often that there are research opportunities that consider activity in all four UK nations at the same time, so this will be an interesting angle to consider. We’re looking forward to contributing to Plunkett Foundation’s strategy development and will really enjoy the opportunity to review and learn from the network of existing community businesses.”

If you are interested in finding out more about this project please contact Chris Cowcher, Head of Policy and Communications (

Chris Cowcher, Head of Community Business, Plunkett Foundation