Britain’s 316 community-owned shops had plenty to celebrate during Community Shops Fortnight.
The sector’s annual celebration, held from Saturday 14 – Sunday 29 June, coincided with the release of the Plunkett Foundation’s A Better Form of Business report, which showed the sector is continuing to grow and prosper. Community shops across the UK joined the celebrations during the third Community Shops Fortnight, hosting everything from food tasting sessions to foreign visits.
Thorncombe Village Shop in rural Dorset took a commemorative group photograph to celebrate the start of their celebrations, featuring some of the 30 volunteers who work at the shop. They have also welcomed German community shop workers, who came to share skills and knowledge and attend social events.
Dryslwyn Community Shop in Carmarthenshire held seven meet-the-producer events over seven days, featuring local suppliers of flowers, honey, sausage, wood turning, Welsh cakes and more.
Islip Community Shop near Oxford held a coffee morning in Islip Village Hall, while some shops took the opportunity to meet up and discuss how to work together and offer mutual support.
Community Shops Fortnight also includes the Plunkett Foundation Rural Community Ownership Awards, which celebrate the wide range of rural social and community co-ops across the UK and Ireland.
Peter Couchman, chief executive of Plunkett Foundation, said: “Over 400 commercial village shops close each year, often resulting in drastic impacts for social well-being and the local economy. Community shops offer a vital source of retail provision within rural communities and are recognised as helping to reduce rural social isolation and loneliness.
“Community Shops Fortnight encourages community shops across the UK to celebrate their achievements as a whole sector. The Fortnight gives community shops an opportunity to celebrate their personal successes and give thanks to the committed teams of people who come together to deliver vital services to their community, their supporters and customers.”
James Alcock, head of frontline at Plunkett, added: “Plunkett is delighted to be celebrating the rural community co-operatives we work with as part of Co-operatives Fortnight … [It] is a great opportunity to celebrate the inspirational and dedicated work of all forms of co-operative that exist across the UK.”
• To-date, 316 community-owned shops and 27 co-operative pubs have opened. For further information on the Plunkett Foundation’s support for community-owned village shops and pubs see www.communityshops.coop and www.pubs.coop.
- Read more: Community shops sector continues to grow