The Plunkett Foundation supports rural communities across the UK to tackle the issues they face through community business. Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community.
Its Plunkett Awards celebrate and raise awareness of the unique contributions community ownership can make to creating resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities. The Plunkett Foundation says community businesses are having a positive impact both socially and economically on rural life – bringing communities together to own and run their own enterprises.
James Alcock, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said:
“Community businesses are breathing new life into rural communities across the UK. When a small town, village or hamlet faces the loss of a local amenity it can be a devastating blow to the residents that use it. Often community ownership is the answer, as we have seen with the shops and pubs that we have recognised with our awards.”
“But it is not just pubs and shops. Community ownership can work for a diversity of enterprises. We have seen farms and woodlands which offer services that can and do have a real social impact through original ideas. It is an enormous pleasure for the Plunkett Foundation to be able to celebrate some of the outstanding individual stories with these awards.”
The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 27 November at Burlington House in London.
Each of the winners listed below were presented with a cheque for £250.
1. 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.
Winner: Neroche Woodlanders Ltd.
2. One to Watch Award – recognises a community business which is close to, or has recently, opened its doors for trading.
Winner: Gressenhall Community Enterprise.
3. 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.
Winner – Isle of Canna Community Shop.
4. People’s Choice Award – recognises an outstanding individual who has contributed so much to their community business in a variety of ways.
Winner – Amanda Spence, Lodsworth Larder.
5. Community Story of the Year Award – this award recognises stories that capture how community businesses often go the extra mile when it comes to supporting individuals and community life.
Winner – The New Inn, Norton Lindsey
6. Diversifying to Make a Difference Award – 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.
Winner – Exelby Green Dragon.
7. Investing in Local People Award – this award recognises the efforts of a community business which goes above and beyond to support and invest in its staff and volunteers.
Further information about the awards and the winners can be found on the Plunkett Foundation website.
Image: Neroche Woodlanders, winners of the Connecting the Community
Plunkett Award 2019.