The boom in community-owned village stores is fantastic news, but we still have a long way to go in rural community-ownership. The shop is just one way a rural community can tackle its needs. There are many others: pubs, church space, transport, energy, broadband, housing, healthcare...the list is huge. But most of these are still only just emerging with a few brave pioneers developing models which have yet to catch on in the way that shops have done.
This week sees the formal launch of our project with the Community Transport Association on rural community transport supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, so there are steps being taken to broaden the range of enterprises. But it is still an uphill struggle to secure support for these emerging forms of community-owned enterprise.
So while we rightly celebrate the success of village shops, let's also redouble our efforts to support the next wave of rural community-owned enterprises ...and the next..and the next.
Finally, a solution to a social dilemma you face. You'll want to celebrate Social Enterprise Day on November 19th, but you also want to celebrate the fact that it is World Toilet Day as well. Problem solved: raise a glass to the incredible people of Lanreath in Cornwall who created their community-owned village shop from their local toilet (see the older blog "Convenience Retailing").