New resource for communities wanting to set up a community shop
A new resource providing an introduction to community shops and how to go about establishing one is published for use alongside ACRE’s Community Led Planning toolkit.
Many rural communities are asking what they can do to limit the impact of local shop closures and whether setting up a community shop is something they wish to consider. ACRE has worked with the Plunkett Foundation on a new resource to support rural communities in these aims.
Plunkett has worked with the majority of community shops currently trading or in the process of setting up. It is the only national organisation supporting the development of community-owned village shops in the UK. Through a dedicated staff team, network of regional advisers, mentors and specialist consultants, Plunkett is able to support communities to open new community-owned shops and to help existing community-owned shops to thrive.
ACRE’s new Community Shops Topic Sheet has been produced for its Community Led Planning Toolkit launched earlier this year. It is hoped that communities producing Community Led Plans will use it to think about whether it is appropriate to look at developing community shops in their area.
Martin Hawkins, Housing, Transport and Services Officer at ACRE said: “Numerous local services including shops are closing down during these very difficult economic times often at great detriment of the rural community which they served. Our new Community Shops Topic Sheet, produced with the expertise of the Plunkett Foundation highlights the many opportunities for rural communities to develop a community shop, a resilient form of enterprise, alongside other needs identified in their Community Led Plan”.
Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “Rural communities are increasingly looking to themselves to take control of the issues affecting them, from declining services like shops and transport to places of social value like pubs and cafes. For example, there are now 285 community-owned village shops across the UK, and the sector as a whole is experiencing an increase in growth as well as reporting higher sales figures. Community-owned services succeed where commercial ventures fail because they have the support of the whole community, also allowing the business to respond directly to its customers’ needs. We hope that the new topic sheets will provide rural communities with the inspiration they need to save or set up their own enterprise for the benefit of the whole community.”
The Community Shops Topic Sheet provides an introduction to Community Shops, explains how they can be considered as part of the broader Community Led Planning process, offers case studies and signposts to detailed support and resources. It is free to download alongside other Topic Sheets from ACRE’s website at ACRE Community Shops Topic Sheets