We are delighted to announce the shortlist for our 2016 Rural Community Ownership Awards, kindly sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association. Winners will be announced at the Skyloft, Millbank Tower on Monday 28 November in London. For more information please visit www.communityownershipawards.com/shortlist.

Categories were divided into 9 geographical locations, as well as the People’s Choice Award, as we searched for a diverse range of community co-operatives across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland:

Category 1 – Midlands Award

Shortlist:

  • Bretforton Community Shop, Evesham
  • Fordhall Farm, Market Drayton
  • Yarpole Community Shop Association, Herefordshire

Category 2 – East of England

Shortlist:

  • Kings Arms, Shouldham
  • Pumphouse Community Brewery, Toppesfield
  • Wrabness Community Shop, Essex

Category 3 – North of England Award

Shortlist:

  • Ashton Hayes and Mouldsworth Village Shop, Chester
  • Barkers of Huby, York
  • The Dog Inn, Blackburn

Category 4 – Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) co-operative*

* Due to a lack of applications, there is only one potential shortlisted entry for this category. The judging panel will consider its suitability and merits on meeting the criteria required for the Awards and the result will be announced at our Awards ceremony.

Category 5 – Republic of Ireland

Shortlist:

  • Ballinderreen Community Centre, Galway
  • Loughmore Community Shop & Tearooms, Tipperary

Category 6 - Scotland

Shortlist:

  • Buth Bharraigh Ltd, Isle of Barra
  • Glenwyvis Distillery, Dingwall
  • Raasay Community Shop, Isle of Raasay

Category 7 – South East of England

Shortlist:

  • Barham Village Store, Kent
  • North Marston Community Shop, Buckingham
  • The Bull, Great Milton

Category 8 – South West of England

Shortlist:

  • Brockweir & Hewelsfield Village Shop, Chepstow
  • St Tudy Community Shop, Cornwall
  • Tally Ho Pub, Littlehempston

Category 9 - Wales

Shortlist:

  • Awel Community Energy Coop, Swansea
  • Llandegla Community Shop, Denbighshire
  • Pwllglas Community Shop, Ruthin

Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of Plunkett Foundation, said: “All over the UK and Ireland, people living in rural areas are taking matters into their own hands to address some of the challenges associated with rural life. Whilst living in the countryside can be wonderful, it can also be a struggle for many; for example, young families struggling to find work nearby or to afford to live locally; older people without families close by, or those who’ve recently retired and are looking for a new direction. Many rural people are experiencing loneliness, isolation or poverty because it’s difficult to access a lot of the things that are needed to participate fully in society and modern life – things like a regular bus service, being able to buy affordable food at a local shop, having reliable access to the internet, or somewhere to socialise and meet people.

“At Plunkett, we’ve seen first-hand the transformative power of co-operation, which is why we help people to set up businesses that are owned and run by the community and that address some of the real challenges facing our rural communities today. The Community Ownership Awards are designed to help communities celebrate their own success and learn from each other, and to raise awareness about the co-operative model and community ownership to a wider audience.”

We are delighted to be welcoming back Hastoe Housing Association as both overall sponsor and sponsor of the People’s Choice Award. The Awards are also generously supported by: Co-operative and Community Finance; The Co-operative College; The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN); NFRN Mutual; The Phone Co-op; SUMA; Triodos Bank and WBC.