UK’s Most Inspiring Community Businesses – Recognised by Rural Community Business Awards 

Helping the vulnerable, delivering food parcels, supporting local food producers, providing local jobs, reducing loneliness, embracing green initiatives, improving wellbeing and creating vibrant communities – the winners of the 2021 Rural Community Business awards have brought their communities together and profoundly improved rural life for all.

Seven inspirational community-businesses from across the UK have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to their communities and recognised as the most inspiring enterprises of their kind by the Plunkett Foundation through its Rural Community Business Awards.

The seven winners were selected from 21 finalists, representing a wide range of businesses from across the UK including community-owned farms, woodlands, shops, pubs, community hubs and breweries.

The awards are held annually by national charity the Plunkett Foundation – which supports rural communities across the UK to tackle local issues such as isolation, loneliness, employment and wellbeing, through supporting community-owned business. This year’s Awards headline sponsors are Hastoe Group.

The winners were presented their awards at a ceremony on Thursday 25 November 2021 hosted by Dame Prue Leith DBE, restaurateur, chef and television presenter.

Despite the challenges of lockdowns, various restrictions and difficult trading circumstances these community businesses have triumphed in the face of adversity. They stepped up to support their communities more than ever and the Rural Community Business Awards gives recognition and thanks to their efforts.

The Seven Rural Community Business Awards Winners: 

  1. Community Contribution Award, sponsored by Thakeham  – Karen Loftus, Berrynarbor Community Shop & Post Office, Devon
  2. Young Person Award – sponsored by Abri Group – Toby Carlton, Never Say Die Pub & Hub, Essex
  3. Rural Vision Award – Employment & Training Award – sponsored by The Retail Mutual – Brown Rock Woodland Project, Somerset
  4. Rural Vision Award – Environment Award – sponsored by Suma Wholefoods – Sandford Talking Shop, Oxfordshire
  5. Rural Vision Award – Re-localisation of produce Award – sponsored by Co-op – Cletwr, Powys, Wales
  6. Rural Vision Award – Technology Award – sponsored by Adnams Southwold – May Hill Hub, Gloucestershire
  7. Rural Vision Award – Volunteering – sponsored by Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP – Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise – Blue Bell, Norfolk 

Community businesses are businesses that are owned and run by their community for their communities, their primary purpose is to provide vital services on which people depend, such as access to food provisions, cash, meeting spaces, health related services and social meeting spaces. The awards celebrate the unique contributions these community businesses make, creating resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities.

James Alcock, Chief Executive at Plunkett Foundation, said: “The impact and inclusivity of these award winners continue to transform the lives of people they serve. Each of them has an incredible story of the positive impact they are having in their community. We hope their stories inspire others to start their own community-owned business, with Plunkett ready to offer advice and support to them in doing so.”

Headline sponsor Andrew Potter, Chief Executive from Hastoe Group, said: “We are delighted to support the awards in 2021, which has been a challenging year for so many, to help shine a light on the great initiatives, selfless volunteers and successful businesses which have not only persevered through the pandemic, but been at the heart of community response”.

The importance and benefits of community-owned businesses are recognised and supported by our event sponsors. Headline sponsors of the awards campaign Hastoe Housing Association are joined by award sponsors: Abri Group, Adnams; Ancora Law; the Co-op; Co-operative & Community Finance; David Wilson Homes; KeyFund; MJD Hughes, MO Architecture; Power To Change, Suma, The Retail Mutual; Thakeham; Triodos Bank and Your Coop.

If you are inspired by the winners of this year’s Rural Community Business Awards then join a growing network of individual supporters and community businesses and help even more communities to realise the potential of community-ownership in their area. More information here.