Community businesses can get £1k grants as support scheme extended

Community businesses in Suffolk can apply for grants and support from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme Picture...

Community businesses in Suffolk can apply for grants and support from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme Picture: PLUNKETT FOUNDATION - Credit: PLUNKETT FOUNDATION

Suffolk community businesses including pubs and shops can apply for grants of up to £1,000 to help them emerge from lockdown over the Christmas period.

Felsham and Gedding Community Store has benefited from support from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme Picture...

Felsham and Gedding Community Store has benefited from support from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

The Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme, a partnership between East Anglian housebuilder Hopkins Homes and national charity the Plunkett Foundation, has been extended after launching in the summer.

As well as grants, it provides free support and expertise to community businesses.

Felsham and Gedding Community Store, near Bury St Edmunds, which was saved by villagers from the threat of closure last year, is one of the businesses which has already received support.

Ria Crosbie, chair of the shop’s management committee, said: “It’s great to know Hopkins Homes are supporting local community business.

Community shops and businesses in Suffolk can apply for grants from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme Picture...

Community shops and businesses in Suffolk can apply for grants from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme Picture: PLUNKETT FOUNDATION - Credit: Archant

MORE: Housebuilder launches support scheme to help community businesses“We’ve been fortunate enough to benefit from adviser support previously, and this has been very useful as we look at the future of our community shop.

“We look forward to benefiting from the Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme and working closely with the village hall to secure a permanent, well-loved and well-used shop for our village.”

James Hopkins, executive chairman and founder of Hopkins Homes, said: “We are reaching the time of year where traditionally communities and families would join together and celebrate the Christmas and New Year period.

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“This year we won’t be able to do this as we normally would, with opportunities to socialise and congregate scaled back due to the restrictions of the ongoing pandemic. However, it is still vitally important that the needs and well-being of communities are supported in these winter months.

MORE: Much-loved shop and post office saved by villagersJames Alcock, Plunkett’s chief executive, said: “We are thrilled by the generous support shown by Hopkins Homes towards community businesses in the East of England during what is arguably the most challenging time the sector has ever seen.

“From increased reliance on village shops, to community pubs being prevented from opening their doors as widely as they would like to this festive season, community businesses are really feeling the strain.

Groups in the early stages of setting up a community business and established community businesses are now able to apply for the grants.

Support is available with a range of issues including governance guidance, cashflow advice and business planning, volunteer recruitment and management, accessing funding and navigating government support schemes.

For more details on how to apply for a grant, email support@plunkett.co.uk or visit the scheme’s web page.