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 Categories and Finalists
Connecting the Community Award
Celebrates one stand-out community business that is tackling loneliness and isolation in rural areas in an accessible and effective way.
- Neroche Woodlanders Ltd, South West
- Thurlton Community Store CIC, East of England
- Trawden Forest Community Shop And Hub, North West
One to Watch Award – Sponsored by The Retail Mutual
Recognises a community business which is close to, or has recently, opened its doors for trading.
- Bledington Community Shop Limited, South West
- Chequer Inn Ash Society, South East
- Gressenhall Community Enterprise, East of England
The Horace Plunkett Better Business Award
The idea that rural communities can find solutions to their needs through cooperation and enterprise go back to the pioneering work of Plunkett’s founder, Sir Horace Plunkett. This award celebrates a great example of a community business that’s achieved exactly that.
- Our Shop, Hinton St George, South West
- Isle of Canna Community Shop, Scotland
- The Pheasant at Neenton, West Midlands
People’s Choice Award – Sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association
Recognises an outstanding individual who has contributed so much to their community business in a variety of ways.
- Chris Bullock, Farmborough Community Shop, South West
- Amanda Spence, Lodsworth Larder, South East
- Andrew Purdey, Ryburgh Village Shop, East of England
Community Story of the Year Award – Sponsored by Triodos Bank
This award recognises stories that capture how community businesses often go the extra mile when it comes to supporting individuals and community life.
- Broadhempston Community Shop & Post Office, South West
- The New Inn, Norton Lindsey, West Midlands
- Avon Dassett Community Benefit Society Limited, West Midlands
Diversifying to Make a Difference Award – Sponsored by BCRS Business Loans
A community business which has embraced diversification and is able demonstrate how it has improved its customers’ experience and the lives of the people in the local community.
- Exelby Green Dragon, North Yorkshire
- Fordhall Community Land Initiative, West Midlands
- Guilden Morden Community Pub Ltd, East of England
Investing in Local People Award – Sponsored by Suma
This award recognises the efforts of a community business which goes above and beyond to support and invest in its staff and volunteers.
- Jubilee Co-op Farm, Northern Ireland
- North Curry Community Café, South West
- The Shop at Crowle, West Midlands
Notes to Editors
Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community. They come in many forms, including shops, pubs, woodlands and anything which lends itself to community ownership. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training.
The 2019 Rural Community Business Awards
The 2019 awards celebrate and raise awareness of the unique contributions community businesses make to creating resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities. For more information on the awards and the categories visit:
The Plunkett Foundation www.plunkett.co.uk
The Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities UK-wide to tackle the issues they face, through promoting and supporting community business. Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community. They come in many forms, including shops, pubs, woodlands and anything which lends itself to community ownership. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training.
Hastoe Housing Association
Hastoe is the UK’s leading rural housing provider, specialising in building sustainable homes for sustainable communities. Owning and managing over 7,500 homes across the south of England, it helps to meet local housing needs in more than 70 local authority areas.
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations who are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.
The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. In 2018 we made grants of £40.5 million towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. We also have a £45 million allocation to social investments for organisations with the aim of creating social impact.
About Power to Change
Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England. Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trading for community benefit and making life better for local people. There are nearly 7,000 community businesses across England employing 35,500 people, with a combined income of £1.2bn.
From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives.
For more information contact:
Duncan Smith, Communications Manager, the Plunkett Foundation: 01993 810730 / Duncan.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.plunkett.co.uk/awards