Explain yourself: community-owned businesses asked to shout about themselves in October celebration

Community-owned enterprises across England will have their chance to shout about their success and unique business models later this year, thanks to the charitable foundation Power to Change.

Varied: three community businesses from across England
Varied: three community businesses from across England

According to Power to Change, community-owned businesses range from cinemas and sporting facilities to pubs, shops and oyster farms. There are a total of around 7,000 such organisations - which are rooted in and accountable to local communities, and often receive grant funding - across the country.

Following a pilot last year, Community Business Weekend takes place on 5-8 October 2017.

Campaign Collective, which itself operates as a social enterprise, has been hired to create a pack of ideas and advice to send to 500 community businesses to help them with demonstrating the positive effect they have on society and celebrating the event. The agency will also be building a website, upon which the advice will be hosted.

Additional support on delivery of the weekend comes from community organisers from the Eden Project.

As many community businesses outwardly look the same as any other private entity, or in some cases operate in facilities that were previously in public hands, their link to the community is often not obvious to users, according to Charlotte Cassedanne, comms manager at Power to Change.

She said: "Many people are unaware that the services they use every day, from leisure centres and parks to shops and even bus services, can be community businesses. They are run by local people, rather than by the council or a private company, because no one knows what an area needs more than the people who live and work there. It is the ultimate user-led business model, where local people are both consumers and business leaders."

A Power to Change survey of community businesses last year found that a half felt they would benefit from greater marketing support.

"Many community businesses find it tricky to explain their working model, and all the great work it helps them do," Cassedanne said, urging PR pros to look for their nearest community business, saying: "There will be one near you which would benefit from your skills."


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