As rural communities continue to experience the closure of services, with a disproportionate impact on the most disadvantaged, Esmée Fairbairn will continue to support the work of the Plunkett Foundation through a new three year grant (2012-2015). The grant will pay for a contribution to a programme to enable the development of community-owned village shops and other services.
Esmée Fairbairn has been a long-term supporter of the Plunkett Foundation. Most recently, between 2006 and 2012, the Foundation provided £1.73m in support of the Village Core programme, a technical support / grants/ loans package delivered in partnership with Co-operative and Community Finance, which enabled the establishment of 90 new community owned village shops across the UK.
When the Village Core grant programme ended, The Plunkett Foundation considered how best to continue to provide community-owned alternatives to rural communities that are losing essential services. By consulting widely among shops, supported by the Village Core programme, it was identified that the Village Core programme’s greatest benefit was achieved through advice and support provision early on.
The Plunkett Foundation will run a programme that encourages earlier independence from grant funding, for village shops, through the provision of intensive high-quality advice and support that leads to robust and sustainable investment ready-proposals suitable for community-share and loan funding. The service will be appropriate to shops but will also apply to other potentially community-owned facilities, such as bakeries, pubs, cafes and launderettes.