Plunkett’s Impact Report revealed a 53% increase in enquiries from groups looking to bring local amenities under community ownership and a 104% rise in the aid the charity has given to rural groups across the country – as it supported 308 projects in 2020.
This support included the opening of 13 community-owned pubs at a time when the embattled sector was hit for 2.1bn pints in beer sales and £8.2bn in lost trade, according to figures from the British Beer & Pub Association.
What’s more, the UK lost in the region of 6,000 licensed premises in 2020 – almost three times the number closed in 2019 – according to the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.
The report also flagged that £4m was raised in community shares to save local pubs.
On top of this, The Plunkett Foundation found that 12 new community shops opened in 2020, with £500,000 raised to save rural vendors.
Ensure Government reach
Plunkett’s report estimated that a total of 500,000 people benefitted from the groups supported in 2020, among whom were 25,000 vulnerable or isolated people.
“Our Impact Report demonstrates how important community businesses are to economic recovery post Covid-19 and to the wider wellbeing and prosperity of communities across the UK,” James Alcock, Plunkett’s chief executive, said.
“For towns and villages to continue to thrive in the long term we need to ensure that Government support reaches those groups that are sustainable and have the greatest impact in supporting all members of their communities.”