Community-run stores which are members of the Plunkett Foundation have been given access to an assured advice scheme run by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
Plunkett, which supports co-ops and community enterprises, mainly in rural areas, says it has “aligned” values with ACS when it comes to supporting rural retailers.
“This is an exciting collaboration between two organisations that significantly enhance the level of support available to Plunkett’s network of member community shops,” it said in a statement.
Head of engagement Harriet English added: “Plunkett Foundation is excited to be working more closely with the Association of Convenience Stores. As well as providing an enhanced level of support that will be invaluable to our community shop members, this new collaboration will focus on raising awareness of the importance of supporting rural retailers today.”
Plunkett’s Community Shops Report shows there were 348 community shops trading in the UK by the end of 2016, providing essential services to 1,400 remote rural communities and generating a combined turnover of £54m.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The success of community-run shops demonstrates how important convenience stores are to local people, especially in isolated areas where they would otherwise not have access to essential goods and services.
“We look forward to working with the Plunkett Foundation on promoting community-run shops and helping them to continue to thrive.”
As part of Plunkett’s membership, community-run shops will benefit from ACS Assured Advice, providing one set of standards across a wide range of in-store compliance issues that must be respected by enforcement authorities like trading standards and environmental health.
ACS supports more than 33,500 local shops through lobbying, advice and networking opportunities. Membership range from stand-alone independent stores to multiple convenience stores.