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, 15 December 2009

Right to Try Conference

Plunkett has opened bookings for its Right to Try conference in London on January 27th. The concept is a simple one. Rural communities should have the right to try and use community ownership to solve the problems they face. All too often they come across barriers erected without thought or bad intention but which lead to them struggling to succeed.

Property and planning is an obvious area, but it is by no means the only one. Inappropriate business support, access to finance, regulation and many others also stand in the way.

The conference will help to define these barriers, to see how common they are between different enterprises and how they can be removed.

Jim Paice MP, shadow farming and rural affairs minister, will be exploring how the Conservative Party Community Right to Buy could support rural communities. Alun Michael MP, always a great supporter of rural social enterprise, will look at the issue from a Labour and a local government perspective.

Unlocking the power of communities to tackle issues has the potential to impact on many parts of rural life. We hope the conference will make a major contribution to achieving this.

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