We are delighted to announce the shortlist for our 2015 Rural Community Co-operative Awards, kindly sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association. Winners will be announced at the Plunkett Foundation national networking & training event on Thursday 25 June in Dunchurch, near Rugby. For more information please visit www.plunkettagm2015.eventbrite.co.uk.

Category 1 – The Pioneer Award

Sponsored by WBC
Flagship community co-operatives that have done something new or different, have gone above and beyond to inspire others to do something similar and/or helped the sector to develop.

Shortlist:

  • Ashton Hayes and Mouldsworth Community Shop, Chester
  • Bamford Community Society, The Anglers Rest, Derbyshire
  • Ilsington Village Shop, Devon

Category 2 – Unsung Hero Award

Sponsored by Suma
For this award we asked co-operatives to nominate an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to their enterprise and therefore their wider community.

Shortlist:

  • Maralynn Smith - Islip Village Shop, Oxfordshire
  • Dave Bennett - St GermansCommunity Shop, Cornwall
  • Marian Osborne - Wellow Village Shop Association, Somerset

Category 3 - One to Watch –The Newcomer Award

Sponsored by The Co-operative College
For this award we sought applications from new community co-operatives, established on or after January 2013. We were looking for enterprises that can demonstrate a commitment to community engagement and support alongside a sound financial performance. We were looking for those that are servicing their community’s needs, are aware of areas for improvement and have made plans for the future.

Shortlist:

  • Bùth Bharraigh, Isle of Barra
  • Hurst Green Community Shop and Centre, Sussex
  • Oldbury on Severn Community Shop, Gloucestershire

Category 4 – Business Innovation Award

Sponsored by Triodos Bank
For this award we sought applications from established community co-operatives, established before January 2013. We were looking for enterprises that can demonstrate a commitment to community engagement and support alongside a sound financial performance. We were looking for those that are servicing their community’s needs, are aware of areas for improvement and have made plans for the future.

Shortlist:

  • Ide Hill Community Shop, Kent
  • Seavington Community Shop and Services Association, Somerset
  • St Germans Community Shop, Cornwall

Category 5 – People’s Choice Award

Sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association
Through this award we were seeking exemplary enterprises that have made a difference to a vulnerable individual or group of people; this may have been on a one-off occasion or continually. We were specifically looking for enterprises that have helped people to overcome:
- Social exclusion
- Physical isolation
- Health issues
- Financial hardship
Nominations were accepted from the community enterprise or from the individual or group that had been supported.

  • Shortlist:
  • Chiddingly Community Shop, Sussex
  • Chittlehamholt Community Shop, Devon
  • Kingsley Organisation, Hampshire

Category 6 - Capture your Co-operative – Film Award

Sponsored by Ecology
We were seeking short films of community co-operatives that tell us why they are brilliant, the positive impact they make to the lives of individuals and groups in the community, what makes them different and how important the enterprise is to the community.

Shortlist:

  • Hurst Green Community Shop and Centre, Sussex
  • Ide Hill Community Shop, Kent
  • Lyme Regis Development Trust, Dorset

James Alcock, Head of Frontline at Plunkett, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the response we’ve had from community co-operatives who’ve really embraced the opportunity to share their successes with others. We’ve had entries from across the whole of the UK and from a diverse range of models, making it extremely difficult for the judges to agree.

He continued: “The Awards celebrate all that make community co-operatives great: their co-operative ethos, dedication to making life better for individuals within the community and can-do approach to solving problems for themselves. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who applied, and also to our sponsors for their generous support.”

The Rural Community Co-operative Awards were launched in April 2015 and aim to commend the committed teams of people who come together to deliver vital services to their community, whether a community land trust or woodland, community shop or bookshop, café or co-operative pub; commodities and services that are becoming increasingly important.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of expert judges.