Community-owned shops in some of the most remote parts of Scotland are to receive extra support, following the merger of the Plunkett Foundation and the Scottish Community Retailing Network (CRN).

The merging of the two organisations and creation of Plunkett Scotland would see the UK’s significant expertise in developing community shops, shared with Scotland’s rural communities, said Plunkett chief executive Peter Couchman.

Plunkett Scotland would be of great benefit to those Scottish communities who were at risk of isolation following the loss of, or threat to, their village shop, Norman MacDonald, chair of CRN and convener of the Western Isles council added.

“It’s also great news for communities wishing to explore other forms of community enterprise. By merging with Plunkett our combined support will reach more communities in need of support to explore solutions that are controlled by them,” he said.