The ten areas that will benefit from a pilot project to enable better access to affordable food by helping groups to establish community-owned shops have been announced by the Plunkett Foundation.

Our Urban Shop is a project funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and delivered by the Plunkett Foundation and Locality. It will deliver specialist support worth £5,000 to ten groups to help them set up community-owned shops, replicating a model that has been hugely successful in rural communities looking to combat similar issues. The project will help urban communities create a place for local people to access good quality, affordable food, as well as providing opportunities for employment, training and volunteering.

James Alcock, Head of Frontline at the Plunkett Foundation, said: “Community shops are a lifeline for communities, not only acting as a place to buy essentials like bread, milk and fresh vegetables, but also offering those at risk of social isolation and loneliness a place to meet . Although only in its pilot phase, Our Urban Shop project has already received interest from over 100 community groups across the UK as an increasing number of communities look to themselves to take control of the issues affecting them.”

The ten successful areas are:
  • Grange Park estate, Blackpool
  • Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Somers Town, Camden, London
  • Ely & Caerau, Cardiff
  • Ruchazie, Glasgow
  • Bootle, Merseyside
  • Windmill Hill, Bristol
  • Park Springs, Gainsborough
  • Princes Park, Toxteth, Liverpool
  • Sutton, London

With changes to shopping patterns, shop closures and the decline of the high street, urban communities – like rural communities – also suffer from lack of access to fresh, affordable produce.

Community shops are owned and run by the community themselves, often relying on volunteers to deliver the service. They have been transformative for rural communities, with 322 now open and trading across the UK. With only 16 ever having closed, the model offers a sustainable option for communities looking to take control of their own services.