Now in their sixth year, the awards celebrate community businesses that help rural neighbourhoods across the UK to tackle issue that concern them.
A total of 18 businesses have been shortlisted for the awards, three for each of the six categories.
The three finalists in the Community Story of the Year category are Appleton Community Shop in Oxfordshire, Slapton Community Shop in Devon and Tafarn Yr Heliwr (The Sportsman Pub) in Gwynedd. This category recognises stories that capture how community businesses provide a much deeper role in supporting individuals and community life.
In the Diversifying to Make a Difference category, the shortlisted businesses are Churchinford and District Community Store in Somerset, Fordhall Community Land Initiative in Shropshire, and Hampstead Norreys Community Shop in Berkshire. The award will go to a community business that embraced diversification and is able to demonstrate how it has improved its customers’ experience and the lives of the people in the local community.
Three community businesses which make substantial efforts to support and invest in their staff, volunteers and customers are in with a chance to win the Investing in Local People Award. These are: Ashwater Village Shop in Devon, Hinton St George community shop in Somerset, and North Curry Community Shop also in Devon.
For the Horace Plunkett Better Business Award, the finalists are the co-operative Dunbar Community Bakery in Scotland, the Spotted Cow and Calf in Derbyshire and Urban Biodiversity CIC from Cornwall. The judges will select a community business with longevity and a track record that is able to demonstrate innovative business practices to enable it to thrive.
In the Little Things category, the winner will be decided between Beckbury Community Shop in Shropshire, Talking Shop in Oxfordshire and Thurlton Community Store in Norwich. This award is for a community business that tackles loneliness and isolation in rural areas in an accessible and effective way.
In the People’s Choice category, the finalists for this award are Rick Nickerson from Bigton Community Enterprise in Scotland, Cara Chapman from Ewelme Village Store in Oxfordshire, and Mary Morris from Thorncombe Village Shop in Dorset.
The winner in each category will receive £250 as well as the support and materials to host a celebration party for the community.
The selected finalists will vote for the People’s Choice Award winner via a voting pad system on the awards night. The ceremony will take place on 5 December in London.