“We’ll help you explore setting up a co-operative in your community”.
Almost the first words on the Plunkett Foundation website are those above. The paragraphs below are taken from the “About us” page of their website.
The Plunkett Foundation helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them together. We support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. They help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.
Our core values are the values of the great Irish co-operative pioneer, Sir Horace Plunkett, who founded the Plunkett Foundation in 1919. He believed that rural communities didn’t have to wait for someone else to make life better for them; they had the potential to do it themselves – with a little help. His values are embedded in the heart of what we do:
• We seek economic solutions to create social change
• We seek solutions that enrich rural community life
• We see self-help as the most effective way to tackle rural needs
The Plunkett Foundation has come from an initial butter making co-operative in Ireland in the early 1900s to being contacted for support by 475 new communities in 2014.
In 2014 there were 325 Community shops trading across the UK providing services to over 1,000 rural communities. There were also 33 co-operative pubs successfully trading, who between them had raised over £6m through community shares.
The Plunkett Foundation is a font of knowledge and can provide us with enormous help and advice on exactly how to save our pub and shop. However the community here must demonstrate that it is backing the project all the way.