The funding will underpin the next stage of its five-year strategy to grow the UK rural community business sector.
“This is a huge endorsement of the role community businesses play across the UK in supporting rural people to take charge of their local assets and services and, in particular, the way in which they take care of those most vulnerable in society,” said James Alcock, Plunkett’s chief executive.
“This new funding will enable Plunkett to both safeguard and strengthen its offer for community businesses by supporting some of our core front line activities as well as investing in a number of exciting initiatives that we already have in the pipeline.”
One of its areas of work is boosting the profile of the community business sector and its national influence through the creation of an information hub. “This dedicated data and information facility will ensure Plunkett can be the go-to place for clear, contemporary facts and figures on the world of community businesses,” said Mr Alcock, adding that the organisation would be conducting and commissioning “robust research” enabling Plunkett to influence positive change within the sector.
This support also comes as Plunkett prepares to launch a new training hub, which will enhance its front line support to groups and improve access to training, both through virtual events and those held at the new facility.
Mr Alcock added: “We thank the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for the continuing faith in the community business sector and in what Plunkett is doing. This funding enables community businesses to do more of what they do best.
“In recent months we have seen so many examples of community businesses supported by Plunkett providing multiple services under one roof as local hubs bringing people together. Whether a pub, shop, woodland, library or bakery – these businesses provide local employment and training opportunities, access to social activities and proactively help to create inclusive and supportive communities.
“The new boost to our funding from Esmée combines with support from other partners including Power to Change, The Co-op, Midcounties Co-operative and others enabling Plunkett to keep on supporting rural community businesses.”