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, 20 April 2010

One year on

It's been a while since I've celebrated a first birthday, especially when it is my own. But today marks one year as Plunkett's chief executive for me.

It has been an incredible first year, seeming both very long and flying by at the same time. It has also been quite an amazing year. We seen the community-ownership of village shops enter the mainstream with around 10% of closures being prevented. We've been given a credibility beyond logic by our appearance on The Archers, not to mention most national newspapers.

This way of solving problems has widened out with the new community-owned pubs and community transport with others in the pipeline. Our work with Community Food Enterprises is certainly one to watch.

It has also been a year of re-establishing old friendships and making some new ones with other organisations. I can't name you all, but I'm grateful to each and every one of you.

If there is one part of the work that has shaped the last year, it has been the humbling experience of visiting the actual enterprises that we support. Seeing what they have achieved and realising how much more could be achieved has not only made this year such a pleasure, it is also what will drive me on in the coming year.

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