If you have considered incorporating a community business within the church building or know of community groups or individuals that you could work with to enable this sort of development, there is a source of advice and funding that could help.  The Plunkett Foundation, working alongside Allchurches Trust, is providing specialist advice and funds to encourage churches to work closely with community groups wanting to set up community businesses in places of worship.  

Through the Community Businesses in Places of Worship programme, Plunkett can offer community groups and churches step by step support with specialist business advisers, as well as grant funds to take forward a project of locating a community owned business within an active church building.

Some of the costs a grant could help with may include helping groups to consult local residents about a community business idea, funding a valuation/survey of a building or site as part of a project, or setting up a community group’s legal structure to enable them to have members and the ability to trade.

Community-owned and run businesses are already operating in a number of churches across the country. Grindleford Community Shop, for example, operates from the old vestry of St Helens Church in the small rural Peak District of Grindleford.  Like many rural villages, over the years Grindleford lost its grocery store and then its Post Office.  The new shop now stocks a wide range of convenience goods and provides teas, coffee, cake and a friendly welcome too!  Outwardly the church remained unchanged, the areas used for worship were unaffected but the vestry restored the heart of the village and although small it works hard to connect all members of the community.

To discover more about communities businesses in places of worship and to find out more about the funded support on offer, take a look at The Plunkett Foundation website and contact their Project Support Officer, Diane Cameron on 01993 630239

Remember you can always discuss church building projects with the Church Buildings Team as well.  We are still running surgery appointments via Zoom and are happy to talk through potential options for future development, priorities following a Quinquennial Inspection and anything else church building related.  If you would like to book an appointment, contact Fran Bell, Church Development Officer ([email protected]) and we’ll book you in.