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The Good Councillor's guide to community business

11 December 2020

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC), which represents England's 10,000 local (parish and town) councils and 100,000 councillors, has launched The Good Councillor's guide to community business to promote the opportunities that community businesses can create locally. The Plunkett Foundation wrote the guide in partnership with Power to Change (the independent trust that supports community businesses in England).

The guide is a comprehensive resource that will enable local councils to understand better how a community business could enhance their parish or town in a post-Covid society.

Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community. They come in many forms, including shops, pubs, woodlands and anything which lends itself to community ownership. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training. As well as bringing people together and attracting people to a local area, for every £1 spent in a business, a further 56 pence is spent locally as the money dissipates.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of local services has never been more apparent. However, the reality is that an increasing number of services are at risk of closure due to market forces, lack of funding, or due to the effects of the pandemic. This means that many residents, many of whom are dependent or vulnerable, are losing access to essential amenities. In these areas where there is a concern of services being lost, the community business approach is often a viable and sustainable solution.

This guide intends to provide the practical “how to” knowledge behind a community business and inspire a new generation of businesses to open. Also, there is support available from all three partners including Plunkett Foundation, Power to Change and the National Association of Local Councils to ensure that councillors can access further expertise and resource to realise the ambition of setting up a community business in their area.

A copy of the guide can be downloaded from the Plunkett Foundation's website here.


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