All Churches Alliance are funding Plunkett to deliver business, advisory and grant support to community groups who are thinking of setting up a community owned business and may consider co-locating it in an active local church. This might be a community owned shop or café, for example, or a community owned farmers market once a week.
Through the Community Businesses in Places of Worship programme, Plunkett can offer step by step support with an adviser as well as grant funds to take forward a community owned business idea. Some of the costs a grant could help with may include: surveying or consulting a community to assess level of support for the idea, funding a valuation of a building or site, setting up a legal structure or paying for additional support from a professional consultant.
Community-owned and run businesses are already operating in a number of churches across the country. Grindleford Community Shop, for example, operates from the old vestry of St Helens Church in the small rural Peak District of Grindleford. Like many rural villages, over the years Grindleford lost its grocery store and then its Post Office. The new shop now stocks a wide range of convenience goods and provides teas, coffee, cake and a friendly welcome too! Outwardly the church remained unchanged, the areas used for worship were unaffected but the vestry restored the heart of the village and although small it works hard to connect all members of the community.
Plunkett is trying to reach communities who may have lost public facilities and places to chat who want to set something up as a community – see more on their webpage here.