The Plunkett Foundation has been awarded almost £500,000 to create a new support service for rural communities who would like to set up their own shops.

It is hoped that the funding boost, supplied by independent grant maker the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, will help to revive small rural villages.

Communities who receive the funding will be privy to a combination of adviser support, training, feasibility grants, and opportunities for networking with other community enterprises.

Eligibility will depend on communities aiming to raise at least £10,000 themselves through community shares.

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has been a long-term supporter of Plunkett’s work, having already funded its Village CORE programme which saw almost 100 rural communities provided with specialist support and funding to support their village shop.

This new service will open for applications on December 3 and Plunkett encourages rural communities who need support for their enterprises to contact them directly for more information via 01993 810730 or by emailing