Sunday, 8 November 2009

Community-owned shops

The encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate, encouraged cooperatives and other applications of solidarity within the economy (e.g. section 66). In Britain, the recession seems to have led to just such a development. The Plunkett Foundation, a charity which promotes self-help in rural communities, reports that 2009 saw an unprecedented number of community-run ventures being set up. So far this year, 25 shops have opened and there are a further 65 in the pipeline, which would take the total number to at least 285, stretching from Cornwall to the Isle of Skye. "We think we've reached a tipping point where we have now gone from a few communities doing something that others saw as unusual to a situation where people are now thinking they could do it too. It is seen as a credible, viable option. It is incredibly rare for the shops to fail, closure rates are virtually zero." While the catalyst for action is often the impending closure of a shop, villages which have not had one for more than 20 years are also joining in the burgeoning movement.

Read the article by Ian Johnston.

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