Power to Change launches ‘Community Business Matters’ campaign to show value of growing sector

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Power to Change is calling for community businesses to sign up so they can generate new customers, volunteers and spread the word about this vibrant, growing, sector.
5 Apr, 2019

Series of short campaign films will be released in the run-up to Community Business Weekend (16th – 19th May) the sector’s fourth annual open doors event. Power to Change is calling for community businesses to sign up so they can generate new customers, volunteers and spread the word about this vibrant, growing, sector.

Independent trust Power to Change is shining a light on how community businesses across the country are tackling some of society’s biggest problems including housing, energy and mental health with a new campaign.

The ‘Community Business Matters’ campaign asks community businesses to share how and why their community business matters to local people, and to open their doors for the fourth annual Community Business Weekend (Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th May 2019) to show this in action.

The trust, who started Community Business Weekend in 2016 to celebrate the 7,800 community businesses across the country, is launching a series of campaign films to mark the countdown to this year’s weekend, and show why ‘Community Business Matters’. Each short film gives an insight into how community businesses across the country are helping to tackle some of society’s biggest problems including loneliness, lack of training and employment opportunities and poor mental health.

The series launches this week with a focus on Bristol Ferry Boats, a community benefit society. The film follows MD Rosin Tobin and her team of staff and volunteers who work 364 days a year to connect disparate communities through their ferry service, education and volunteering.

The second film, launching on 8th April, focuses on Bramley Baths in Leeds, a Grade II listed Edwardian bath house which was taken into community ownership after the council was unable to continue operating the site. In the film, CEO Sue Stones explains how the centre has grown to become part of the fabric of the local community, bringing families together through exercise, health and wellbeing.

Over the course of the next four weeks, Power to Change will unveil three more films documenting the work of different community businesses across the country:


  • Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle, a diverse cinema and arts hub built by the community in a culture desert will go live on 16 April
  • Ideal for All in Birmingham, a user-led charity and social enterprise working to make life better for disabled, elderly and vulnerable people will be released on 23 April
  • FC United, an inclusive community-led football club challenging stereotypes in Manchester will be released on 30 April

Power to Change CEO Vidhya Alakeson said: “The beauty of community business is that anyone can get involved, from setting one up, to becoming a shareholder, trustee, volunteer, employee or valued customer. One of our core priorities at Power to Change is to help communities to harness the skills, leadership and entrepreneurialism that already exist at the local level. Community Business Weekend is a great way to both celebrate and uncover the skills that can bring vibrancy and economic growth to local areas.”

Community Business Weekend is a national open doors event for raising awareness of the vital work of the 7,800 community businesses in England. In 2018 more than 17,000 people visited 225 community businesses over the course of the event. Many of these visitors are now volunteers, regular customers and even shareholders of those businesses.

Community businesses across the country will mark the occasion in a variety of ways including street parties, speaker events and behind the scenes tours of their business.

To make hosting an event as easy as possible for businesses, Power to Change has created a toolkit of resources. This includes webinars, social media guidelines and graphics, marketing tips and templates to enable businesses to promote their event through local media and even decorative bunting. All of these are available on www.communitybusinessweekend.org

Community businesses come in many forms, from community run shops, pubs, libraries, clothing manufacturers, cafés and leisure centres, to housing trusts and solar farms. They are categorised as being rooted in a local area, run by members of the community and trading for the benefit of that community.

New research from Power to Change shows that the community business sector is growing, hiring and showing high levels of confidence, with 7,800 community businesses recorded in operation in 2018, employing 33,600 people and 158,000 volunteers and contributing £1.05bn to local economies.

For more information please contact:

Laura Hunt: Laura.Hunt@bjl.co.uk – 0161 731 8141

Jonathan Bacon: Jonathan.Bacon@bjl.co.uk – 0161 731 8141

Ellyn.Grant@bjl.co.uk – 0161 731 8141


About Power to Change


Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England. Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector is worth £1.05 billion, and comprises 7,800 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2018)

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. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

www.powertochange.org.uk  @peoplesbiz


About Community Business Weekend


Community Business Weekend celebrates the 7,800 community businesses in local hands across England. In 2017, over 200 community businesses opened their doors and used the long weekend to demonstrate the positive impact they have on society and tell their stories of success. For more information on Community Business Weekend, please visit: www.communitybusinessweekend.org