We know that rural life in the UK isn’t all about panoramic scenery and picture perfect houses. For example, the decline of vital services such as retail and banking, poor access to public services, limited range and availability of jobs and the lack of public transport can mean for many people, living in a rural area presents a daily challenge.

We also know that rural communities can address these challenges themselves and that the long-term solution is often achieved through enterprises that are owned by the community, for the benefit of the community - an approach we call community co-operatives. You can find out more on our dedicated webpage here

Not only do these enterprises overcome a practical problem, they also reduce loneliness and isolation by improving social interactions and fostering community spirit.

We are delivering Rural Community Co-operatives thanks to funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Plunkett is liaising with a UK-wide Advisory Group and the members are:

Who is this project for?

Rural Community Co-operatives events and support is available for communities that are based in a rural* area, anywhere in the UK for both groups that are in the very early stages, and for those communities that already have a community co-operative.

For communities that are in the early stages of their idea, we want to hear from you if your community:

  • Has an idea, but doesn’t know what to do next - calling our helpline, joining us at an event and reading our useful ‘how to’ guides is a great way to start.
  • Are working together to explore community-owned enterprise as a way to overcome the issues it experiences - if you’ve carried out some community consultation and there’s support for your idea, our specialist advice is usually the next step.
  • Wants the enterprise to help create better opportunities for local people, reduce isolation, loneliness and poverty – if so, we’ll help you ensure your enterprise has maximum impact! 

* We don’t have a strict definition of what rural is as ‘rural’ varies from area to area, so if you think we can help, please get in touch!

For communities that that are already open and trading, we want to hear from you if

  • You’re a Plunkett Supporter Member or a Community Enterprise Network Member.
  • Want to meet and share ideas with other Members.
  • Would like to refresh and update your knowledge on key areas, for example business planning, governance and marketing.

Contact us

If your community is inspired to explore a community co-operative or simply wants to find out more, please call our friendly team on 01993 810 730. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected] or send us a message anytime here and we’ll be in touch.