Search for the most inspiring rural community businesses of 2019 begins!

National charity Plunkett Foundation announces details of its seventh national awards ceremony which will showcase the most inspiring enterprises owned and run by rural communities across the UK.

Applications are sought from all types of community businesses, from shops and pubs to groups managing woodlands for the benefit of local residents.  

There are seven award categories this year which celebrate different types of achievement including, ‘Strengthening the Community’, ‘Investing in Local People’ and, new for this year, ‘One to Watch’ which will recognise a community business which is close to, or has recently opened its doors for trading.

The awards are being supported by partners that value our commitment to achieving resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities by encouraging people to work together to find solutions to their needs through community enterprise. Some of this year’s partners include The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Hastoe Housing Association, BCRS Business Loans,The Retail Mutual and Suma Wholefoods.   

The awards are the highlight of the community business calendar, giving recognition to the efforts of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure their communities retain vital services which often have wide-ranging benefits such as boosting the local economy, improving wellbeing and reducing loneliness, and negating the need for journeys to be made elsewhere. Plunkett works with over 1,000 such enterprises, of which over 600 are currently trading.

Last year’s winners included:

  • Slapton Community Shop – for the efforts of volunteers who used 4x4s to keep the shelves stocked when the ‘Beast from the East’ cut off access to and from the community
  • Hampstead Norreys Community Shop – for aiming to become plastic free
  • Dunbar Community Bakery – for the successful turnaround of the enterprise following a period of hard times
  • Talking Shop in Oxfordshire – for creating a welcoming and friendly space focused on combating loneliness and isolation

The 2019 Awards Ceremony will be matched with a celebration of Plunkett’s centenary year and take place on Wednesday 27 November in London.

Plunkett is calling on as many groups as possible to put their community business forward for the 2019 awards, details of which can be found online: Applications can be submitted online until 18 October.       

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