Community-owned village shops across the UK to celebrate Community Shops Fortnight

Community-owned village shops across the UK to celebrate Community Shops Fortnight
Plunkett Foundation
30.05.13

Plunkett Foundation, the national organisation supporting the development of community shops across the UK, has launched Community Shops Fortnight 2013, an annual celebration of community-owned village shops across the UK, which will take place Saturday 15 June to Saturday 29 June 2013.

The Fortnight will celebrate the success of the 309 communities across the UK that saved their village shop through community ownership. Community shops across the whole of the UK will be joining the celebrations, with over 100 taking part in the first Community Shops Fortnight last year. Over 100 community-owned village shops are expected to take part in the celebrations, running events and raising awareness with customers and community members using marketing packs including bunting, posters and postcards.

Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of Plunkett Foundation, said: “In a climate that has seen commercial village shops close at a rate of around 400 per year, rural communities have rallied round and saved their shop from closure, reopening as a community-owned and run enterprise. But that’s not the only thing they should be celebrating. These 309 communities have gone on to build a committed team and engage with everyone in their community to keep their shop up and running, delivering a vital community service day in, day out.”

Peter continued, “In celebration of this achievement, Plunkett Foundation is launching the second Community Shops Fortnight, which will mark the hard work, commitment and pride that ensures a community-owned shop succeeds long after the excitement of open day celebrations has passed.”

Community shops are a sustainable and viable way of doing business: they succeed where commercial businesses fail because they engage their whole community, responding to the needs of customers and offering unique goods, such as locally produced food. Community shops currently employ 945 staff and rely on 7,796 volunteers; have 51,510 members; offer 174 Post Offices services and 130 cafes; and stock 6,666 suppliers of goods and services.

As part of the Fortnight, Plunkett Foundation will be publishing A Better form of Business – Community-Owned Village Shops, its latest annual report into the performance of the community shop sector in 2012. The report will clearly show that community-owned shops continue to grow and be resilient in challenging times.  To illustrate this point no community-owned shops closed during 2012 anywhere across the UK.  Average gross sales are up by 13.1% to £48,711,601 and like for like sales from 2011 show an increase of 2.9%, in an environment that has seen a stalling of growth for large retailers in the UK.

Community Shop Fortnight will also see the first ever Community Shop Awards ceremony which is being held to celebrate the achievements of community shops and highlight particular aspects of good practice to inspire others. To find out more about the events taking place as part of Community Shops Fortnight, visit www.communityshops.coop.