FIVE community shops and one co-operative pub have won prestigious awards from the Plunkett Foundation.
The six winners of their first ever UK Rural Community Ownership Awards were announced at a national ceremony on Wednesday (2 July).
Plunkett chief executive Peter Couchman said: "The awards recognise the wide range of rural social and community enterprises that help rural communities through community-ownership to take control of the issues affecting them.
"It has been a difficult task to pick winners from the enterprises shortlisted as each and everyone one of them is fantastic in their own right."
Award winners were:
Category 1 – Better Finance sponsored by Triodos Bank
Brockweir and Hewelsfield Village Shop, Gloucestershire
Category 2 – Better Co-operation sponsored by Co-operative and Community Finance
Bentley Community Pub, Suffolk
Category 3 - Better Environment sponsored by Ecology Building Society
Tackley Community Shop, Oxfordshire
Category 4 – Better Communities sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association
Siop Gymunedol Pwllglas, Denbighshire
Category 5 – Better Display sponsored by Wine Box Company
Hampstead Norreys Community Shop, Berkshire
Category 6 - Better Services sponsored by Suma
Rowde Village Shop, Wiltshire
Some 18 community-owned enterprises were shortlisted for the six national awards, designed to recognise what makes community-owned enterprises great.
The awards also recognise co-operative ethos, community engagement and a joint approach to overcoming problems faced by communities.
Community-owned enterprises are sustainable, democratic forms of businesses that succeed where commercial ventures have failed.
In a climate that sees around 400 commercial village shops close each year and in the region of 28 pub closures a week, many community enterprises are thriving.
Plunkett believes community-owned shops and co-operative pubs directly respond to key challenges facing rural communities today such as lack of services and isolation.
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