The Plunkett Foundation needs your views!

As you may already be aware, community businesses are a proven model for sustaining vital assets and services in rural communities such as shops, pubs and post offices, and are celebrated for the wider role they play in reversing economic decline and tackling social issues related to unemployment, exclusion and loneliness. Plunkett has helped over 600 community businesses to set up in rural areas, and supports a further 500 each year with ambitions to open.

Our research published earlier this year, highlighted that very few community businesses are operating from within a place of worship, and awareness of the possibility of doing so is very low. The research highlighted, however, that where this model did exist, it created significant benefits to both the wider community through service provision in addition to bringing these much valued and often historical buildings back into wider community use, which it turn, support them through new income streams to enable these buildings to be safeguarded for future generations.

Therefore, we are seeking your views on a proposed four-point plan looking to accelerate the growth of community businesses co-locating within places of worship. The proposed plan can be seen below:

1. Undertake a communications and awareness raising campaign
This would shine a spotlight on where this model is already working successfully, raise the profile of organisations which can offer support, and ultimately encourage more communities to explore this model as a viable option for establishing a community business in their community.

2. Form an alliance of organisations working together to foster an enabling environment for community businesses and places of worship to work together
There are many specific challenges to setting up a community business in a place of worship, which is why we believe it is important to work with a range of organisations who have reach into secular and non-secular rural communities, who understand the steps required to gain permissions to trade from place of worship of various denominations, and who can endorse this model to communities who are sceptical or concerned as to its appropriateness.
 
3. Provision of dedicated business support
Bespoke business support is key to supporting communities through the various stages of setting up a community business, and specifically overcoming the typical challenges faced when setting up within a place of worship.

4. Provision of a funding package consisting of grants and loans which support capital requirements involved
Plunkett has seen how a package of grant and loan finance, even in small proportions, can make a significant difference to the viability of a start-up community businesses, and if set up in the right way, can both incentivise a community to reach trading stage and give them the confidence to raise match capital from within their local community.

This survey asks for your views on the above four-point plan, what else might be required, and what role you might be able to play in achieving the ambition of growing the sector. Following this, we will be seeking to hold a roundtable event with up to 10 organisations to finalise an action plan for a broader communications plan or campaign and partnership activities.

We would greatly appreciate you taking 15 minutes of your time to respond to this survey.

This piece of work is being led by James Alcock, Executive Director. Should you want to discuss your responses or anything else relating to the Plunkett Foundation please feel free to get in touch via info@plunkett.co.uk.

DATA PROTECTION: All responses are anonymous, however there is an option to provide your contact details at the end of the survey should you want to be

Your details

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* 1. Your name

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* 2. Email address

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* 3. Name of your organisation

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* 4. Do you consider the four-point action plan is going in the right direction?

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* 5. Rank each of the four points in the action plan in order of importance (with 1 being the most important)

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* 6. What other actions would you recommend are required?

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* 7. Would you/your organisation be prepared to endorse an action plan along these lines? Endorsement would involve adding your logo to the campaign and supporting via social media

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* 8. In what way would you be prepared to support this campaign?

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* 9. Would you be interested in joining the proposed roundtable event?

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* 10. Do you have any other contacts/organisations you feel we should be contacting regarding the proposed four-point plan?

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