An introduction to the Plunkett – Community businesses in places of worship
The Plunkett Foundation is part of a coalition of organisations primarily focused on faith and historical buildings, and are inviting local communities to co-locate community businesses within active churches and other places of worship.
Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community, on behalf of the community. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training.
Plunkett recognises that as well as providing access to physical space, places of worship are often uniquely placed to respond to the needs of their communities by bringing different networks of people together for a shared purpose. To compliment this, by operating within a place of worship, community businesses not only help strengthen the already important role that places of worship play at the heart of their communities, but can also contribute to their long term sustainability by generating income through rent, attracting more people through the door, giving places of worship the opportunity to engage with new people of all ages, and increasing opportunities to apply for secular funding.
There are wonderful examples across the UK of the model already helping community businesses and churches alike to flourish. They recently ran a webinar featuring two case studies in the south of England and a guest speaker from the Diocese of Hereford. Grindleford Community Shop, a thriving community business running from a church in the heart of the Peak District is another lovely example.
Plunkett is delighted to be working with the Benefact Trust to support its ‘Places of Worship’ campaign to reach and inspire new community and faith groups to consider co-locating in a place of worship and to provide specialist support and bespoke advice to community groups and Christian places of worship throughout the UK.
Recognising that access to funding is critical in the early stages of a project’s development, Benefact Trust funding has also enabled Plunkett to offer small grants of up to £5,000 to support a group’s development and help with the costs of any feasibility work being completed.