The Village CORE Programme is a British support programme for rural communities of over 300 people looking to set up and run a community-owned rural shop.
It combines advice from the managing organisation, the Plunkett Foundation, along with a £40,000 funding package. This takes the form of a grant of up to £20,000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and a loan of up to £20,000 from Co-operative and Community Finance. The funding package is then matched by equivalent community contributions of up to £20,000.
The programme has so far led to the creation of 36 community-owned shops throughout England, and a further 17 are due to open by the end of 2009. There are now over 200 village shops in the UK owned by their local communities.
Many villages have lost or face the prospect of losing their last shop, so a community-owned shop is often the only viable option. The programme was originally a three-year initiative but demand has been so great – particularly in the current economic climate – that it has just been extended for a further three years.
Among the shops to have opened with the support of the Village CORE Programme this year alone are Almondsbury in Gloucestershire,Ryburgh in Norfolk, Feckenham in Worcestershire and Avebury in Wiltshire.
Article in The Field 17 July 2009: http://www.thefield.co.uk/news/383609/Village_CORE_programme.html
Article on Community Shares website: http://www.communityshares.org.uk/news/boom-community-shops-continue