Blog article

Community Business Weekend returns to champion local enterprise

Organised by Power to Change, Community Business Weekend shines a light on the country's 7,000 community businesses – and this year takes place on 4-7 May.

The weekend offers a unique opportunity for community businesses to invite local people to see behind the scenes, understand how they can get involved in running a business for community good and have a say in local decision making.

To find out how you can host an event and get the word out about your community business, visit www.communitybusinessweekend.org.

In 2017, more than 150 independent events took place over Community Business Weekend throughout the country, attracting nearly 12,000 visitors. The weekend saw people trying out volunteering at a community-run vineyard, a mass community breakfast in an inner city park and a community pub launch a new beer in Brighton. It also helped community businesses recruit 226 new volunteers, trustees and shareholders.

Every day, tens of thousands of people get up and go to work at one of the 7,000 community businesses in England. Hundreds of thousands of us shop, visit or benefit from them directly but they are still relatively unknown. 

That’s why Community Business Weekend is so important. It shines a light on these community-run gems that bring much needed services and spaces to a community, boost local economies and reinvest the profits for the benefit of local people. Peter Jenkins, Interim Chief Executive at Power to Change

Only 3% of people surveyed in a recent poll thought local people had most say over what happens in their area. 57% of people believed, however, that power should lie with the local community – just 3% thought it should lie with national government.

Top-down decision-making has been cited as a key blocker in community power; community organisations, local authorities, neighbourhood forums and local councils have agreed that if power resides outside the community and at another level of governance, or within the private sector, that it results in a sense of powerlessness for the community.

Recent reports have shown that there are around 7,000 community businesses in England, with a combined market income of £1.2bn. This burgeoning sector has considerable potential to enhance local economies across England, and could be the model for the future of the national economy.

 

Written by Jennifer Banks
Updated: 18/04/2018