Peter Couchman is the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Plunkett Foundation is the organisation which promotes and supports co-operative and social enterprises in rural communities both in the UK and internationally. It provides support, networks and knowledge which offers practical solutions for rural communities that helps to create thriving places where people live and work now and in the future.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Right to Try gets manifesto endorsement

Congratulations to the Co-operative Party for becoming the first political party to adopt Plunkett's Right to Try idea in its manifesto. Whilst the Foundation is politically neutral and seeks to influence all mainstream parties, we are delighted to recognise this endorsement.

Right to Try is a simple idea. All too often communities hear of the closure of a shop just as it is about to close its doors. This then creates an almost impossible task of deciding that the shop could be saved, rallying the community, setting up a new organisation, raising the funds to save the shop etc. All this has to be done before the failed enterprise can be bid for. All too often this results either in having to restart the enterprise or, in some cases, the shop being lost to private housing.

Right to Try calls for the a community to be able to express its interest in trying to save a shop and being given a period of time to put its proposal together. This simple breathing space could save an enormous amount of stress for many communities. It would also encourage shop owners to discuss plans in advance.

We'll be raising this idea with all parties, but congratulations to the Co-operative Party for getting in first.

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