Launching Plunkett’s Annual Rural Community Business Awards

The Plunkett Foundation, a national charity that supports rural community-owned businesses around the UK, are excited to announce that the Rural Community Business Awards are returning for another year with the support of Headline Sponsor, the North Barnes Farm Partnership with Welbeck Land and Eton College.

The Awards honour the commitment and achievements of all types of rural community businesses, as well as recognising the volunteers often working tirelessly in the background who go above and beyond to serve their local communities. The awards are a chance to acknowledge and congratulate rural community businesses all over the UK for their extraordinary efforts as they continue to step up to serve their communities in spite of an incredibly challenging trading climate for all businesses.

Across the UK a growing number of 750 community-owned businesses are creating resilient, thriving and inclusive rural towns and villages. Whether a shop, farm, bakery, woodland or pub - their much valued services help tackle rural issues of isolation, loneliness, access to essential goods, provide jobs and training, help the environment and create amazing opportunities to bring people together to improve the wellbeing of all.

Nomination entries in to the 2023 Rural Community Business Awards from community-owned businesses from across the UK that are in a rural setting open at 10am on Wednesday 26th July.

There are eight award categories to enter: Rural Vision “Volunteering Award” - without the daily efforts of thousands of volunteers many community-businesses simply wouldn’t exist and essential shops, pubs and services would be lost for good.

  • Rural Vision “Inclusivity Award” - community-owned businesses are a friend to everyone, offering a friendly-welcoming place to go, volunteering and employment opportunities for all.
  • Rural Vision “Community Food & Local Supply Award” - stocking local produce or using local energy or services – community businesses play a key role in supporting local producers.
  • Rural Vision “Employment & Training Award” - community businesses offer employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities that help rural villages to thrive.
  • Rural Vision “Environment Award” - many community businesses operate in sustainable ways to reduce their impact on the environment.
  • Rural Vision Technology Award - technology plays a key part in making services more accessible and helping communities stay connected.
  • Community Contribution Award – recognising outstanding and selfless work in helping others.
  • Young Person Award - recognising the commitment and value of young people.

Community-owned business nominations should be submitted online by 5pm on Friday 8th September. The eight Rural Vision Award winners and the three finalists for the Community Contribution and Young Persons awards will be decided by a panel of judges made up of sponsors.

A special awards evening, hosted by TV presenter and auctioneer, Charlie Ross, will take place to announce the winners at The Royal College of Chemistry in London on Wednesday 15th November. Winners will receive £250 for their community business.

As well as Headline Sponsor, the North Barnes Farm Partnership, we would also like to thank the following Award sponsors for their support: Ansvar Insurance, Anthony Collins Solicitors, Co-op, North Barnes Farm Partnership, Power to Change, Suma and Thakeham.

James Alcock, Chief Executive at Plunkett Foundation, said:

“Community-owned businesses have the power to improve the lives of all those living in rural areas.  They provide access to services that are essential to everyday living and a lifeline to those in their communities that are most in need – the isolated, the elderly, people on low incomes and those seeking local employment. Our Rural Community Business Awards seek to find and celebrate the UK’s very best community-owned businesses.”

Damon Turner from the North Barnes Partnership said:

“As a Partnership we recognise the importance of embedding community-owned businesses at the heart of new developments to ensure they thrive as inclusive places from day one, and value the advice and input of The Plunkett Foundation to our plans for a small market town in East Sussex. We are proud to once again be Headline Sponsor of these awards that recognise the tireless work of community-owned businesses up and down the country.”

For further details about the Rural Community Business Awards visit


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