Harness the benefits of community business, councils urged

The National Association of Local Councils has launched The Good Councillor's guide to community business to promote the opportunities that community businesses can create locally.

Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community. They come in many forms, including shops, pubs, woodlands and anything which lends itself to community ownership.

The guide is a comprehensive resource that will enable local councils to understand better how a community business could enhance their parish or town in a post-coronavirus society. The NALC, which represents England's 10,000 local (parish and town) councils and 100,000 councillors, says that it intends to provide the practical how-to knowledge behind a community business and inspire a new generation of businesses to open.

As well as developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, well-being, work and training. Also, bringing people together and attracting people to a local area, for every £1 spent in a business, a further 56 pence is spent locally as the money dissipates.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the reality is that an increasing number of services are at risk of closure. That means that many residents, many of whom are dependent or vulnerable, are losing access to essential amenities. In these areas where there is a concern of lost services, the community business approach is often a viable and sustainable solution.

Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said: "I'm delighted for the launch of The Good Councillor's guide to community business. Local councils play a significant role as service deliverers for their communities, through supporting local economy and business. It is encouraging that the sector already engages with community businesses and hope this latest publication will empower councillors with information to support community businesses and extend their take-up across the country."