Our research found that 72% community businesses work closely with other community businesses and 69% actively support the development of community businesses. That, and feedback from community businesses at events, tells us peer networks are one of the most important forms of support a community business can get. Below are some of the most interesting networks supporting community businesses specifically.
For people who run community hubs
There are a few membership networks of people working in hubs, pubs and shops that deliver way more than just their basic services:
Locality is the national network of ambitious and enterprising community-led organisations, working together to help neighbourhoods thrive.
Octopus Communities links up community centres in London to share best practice.
Social Enterprise Acumen CIC is a network for social entrepreneurs in the North East of England, offering workshops, coaching and accelerator programmes.
For people who want to engage their community
Eden Project Communities is behind The Big Lunch. Worth a look if you want to get your neighbours to do something amazing together.
There’s lots of platforms to get involved in volunteering but one of them is Project Dirt, where you can advertise or find a community project to get involved in.
The Company of Community Organisers is the national body established to support the training and development of community organising in England.
For people who want to run a community share offer
The Community Shares Practitioner Network is led by Co-operatives UK and aims to support individuals and organisations who provide advice and guidance to communities undertaking share offers.
For people who want to run community sports
Supporters Direct helps fans to set up democratic cooperatives (known as supporters’ trusts) to gain influence in the running and ownership of their clubs.
For people who want to get involved in community energy
How to be get the most out of and run a successful peer network
In 2016, we recruited 13 peer network professionals to form a Community of Practice and explore effective ways for community businesses to connect with each other and to other businesses. You can access all of their sessions and find out what makes a network tick on this microsite: Unlocking Networks.