How community co-operatives create a sense of belonging “The opening of the Anglers Rest as a community pub has made a big difference to my social life. I've made new friends through the Wednesday quiz night. I've joined in with the dancing on music nights … I feel that I'm part of Bamford community and know that I'm very fortunate indeed to live in Bamford village.” So said a resident living near The Anglers Rest in The Peak District, which was bought by the community in 2013. Long periods of mental health problems often start with loneliness and that has been made worse in many rural communities with the closure of so many businesses such as pubs, Post Offices and village shops - meaning that not only have residents lost a service, they have lost somewhere to meet too. Volunteering – Many community co-operatives have told us that their volunteers relish turning up for work because it gives them a valuable sense of being part of something. Take this volunteer from The Maybush Inn, Essex which opened as a community co-operative in 2016: “I am a volunteer at the Maybush Inn (4 hours a week) and cannot believe the pleasure and personal reward it has given to me.” Or this, from a volunteer at Thurlton Community Store in Norfolk: “Volunteering for the village shop gives me a huge amount of satisfaction, in knowing that you’re part of an amazing team of people who all want to preserve our village community!” Customers – It’s not just the staff who get a feeling of satisfaction out of belonging to such a worthwhile project, community co-operatives also need people to use their services – and from the evidence we’ve seen, local residents are only too delighted! We couldn’t put it better than a member of The Drovers Inn in Wimborne, Dorset who had this to say about the importance of saving their local pub: “I have lived in the village for over 40 years and experienced the harsh impact of the loss of rural services. When the pub was suddenly closed in November 2014, at a time when I was recently widowed, the impact was devastating to me. I felt that I had lost a vital lifeline where I could drop in and be sure of a friendly face to chat with even though I live on my own. Since the pub has re-opened there has been a great improvement in the community spirit and I have made so many new friends and got to re-connect with old friends that I meet up with when I visit for a well-cooked meal or just a drink and a chat, and there is always a warm welcome for my dog as well.” We all like to be part of something. Why not make it something great by finding your nearest community co-operative and seeing how you can help - use our maps to locate your nearest co-operative pub and community shop.