There is a lot of doom and gloom in the news these days about the economy and how things will go because of Brexit.
Reports on community shops and co-operative pubs by Plunkett Foundation, however, give us something to cheer about.
The reports, titled ‘Community Shops: A better form of business’ and ‘Co-operative Pubs: A better form of business,’ provide the most comprehensive research available on the performance and impact of these enterprises.
The research shows that at the end of 2016:
- There were 348 community shops trading in the UK providing essential services to 1,400 remote rural communities
- Community shops created 1,114 paid jobs and 9,605 volunteer positions
- Community shops generated a combined turnover of £54m and donated £125,000 to community projects
- No community shops have closed within the last two years, resulting in a 95% long term survival rate
- The co‑operative pub sector had grown by 15% with six new pubs opening during the year
- 46 co‑operative pubs were trading, widely spread across England and Wales
[the 50th co-operative pub started trading in June 2017]
- 90 groups were actively exploring setting up a co-operative pub
- No co‑operative pubs had closed maintaining an impressive 100% survival rate
Community shops and co-operative pubs are independent democratic businesses owned and ultimately controlled by their members on the basis of one member one vote, regardless of the number of shares owned.
James Alcock, General Manager at Plunkett Foundation, said: “Community co-operatives are a great leveller – they bring people together of all ages, backgrounds, interests, and give them a purpose to interact. This can benefit new residents who want to meet their neighbours, young parents who feel isolated at home, teenagers seeking work and life experience, the retired seeking opportunities to remain active, and those who live alone or are carers and have no other way of meeting people. Put simply, community shops and co-operative pubs reduce social isolation and loneliness.”
Plunkett Foundation represents a network of over 500 rural community co-operatives that are trading in all parts of the UK. It supports these organisations to thrive and help communities explore the idea of a community co-operative. It aims to grow this sector by raising awareness of the co-operative model to more communities and reach geographic areas and individuals most in need.