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.

That’s why 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.

On this page, you can find links to community business peer networks by sector or organisation type.

If you have any feedback, please get in touch by emailing peer@thepowertochange.org.uk

Peer networks for community businesses

Community-anchor organisation

Locality is the national network of ambitious and enterprising community-led organisations, working together to help neighbourhoods thrive

Community hub network

Octopus Communities links up community centres in London to share best practice.

Community energy:

Check out the Community Energy Hub and Community Energy England for resources and networking opportunities.

If you’re based in the South West, Regen SW are worth checking out. They have lots of networking events so you can ask your peers and the wider energy sector all about setting up and running a successful energy project.

Community engagement

Eden Project Communities is behind The Big Lunch. Worth a look if you want to get your neighbours to do something amazing together.

Community food growing

Community Food Growers Network is an informal network of people involved in community food growing in London.

Community libraries

Upper Norwood Library Trust is leading the community library network with Locality.

Community organisers

The Company of Community Organisers is the national body established to support the training and development of community organising in England.

Community pubs

Join the Plunkett Community Pubs Network Facebook page to get tips on running a community pub, and help others who are setting out.

Community shares

The Community Shares Practitioner Network (CSPN) is led by Co-operatives UK and  aims to support individuals and organisations who provide advice and guidance to communities undertaking share offers.

Community shops

Join the Plunkett Community Shops Network Facebook page to get tips on running a community shop, and help others who are setting out.

Community sport

Supporters Direct helps fans to set up democratic cooperatives (known as supporters’ trusts) to gain influence in the running and ownership of their clubs.

Community volunteering

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.

Social enterprises

Social Enterprise Acumen CIC is a network for social entrepreneurs in the North East of England, offering workshops, coaching and accelerator programmes.