Over 17,000 people visited community businesses all over England during the first May bank holiday as part of Community Business Weekend. With 225 events held, a massive 55% increase from last year, more people are finding out how they can support their local community.
The weekend was picked up by many local, regional and national papers including this article in The Independent and this feature in the Daily Mirror. We also ran a national storyfinding 34 million people are CIMBYs – people who want Community In My Back Yard – and what to improve their local area. This helped community businesses promote their events and 51% got media coverage.
Sam Thomson from The Café on the Common in Bristol claims Community Business Weekend has boosted interest. “We are big supporters of the campaign – it is great to be part of something happening nationally and really helped us to promote what we do.”
77% of community businesses attracted new people, and 278 new volunteers, members and shareholders signed up to be involved in a community business.
Rachael Cotter, SAFE Regeneration in Liverpool said“It was great for us to show what we are about and for people to see it first hand, it also brought other businesses together to help each other.”
In the North East, attendees took part in activities including live music, drinks and food at Spark:York, entrepreneurial workshops for people with community business ideas at Centre4 and an open day with tea, cakes and a plant sale at Winthrop Gardens. In London, Brixton Green hosted a picnic in the park and Stepney City Farm organised a festival of music, dancing, crafts, food and sheep shearing. In the South, Stoneham Bakehouse celebrated a year since their opening and offered volunteering opportunities. Visitors enjoyed games, sports and refreshments at Defiant Sports. In the Midlands area, gardening activities were held at Ideal for All and Gatis Community Space prepared a range of creative activities for all the family.
Paul Gurtherson from Centre4 in Grimsby said “This year we focused on using it to consolidate our relationship with people who had already made a first contact with us about starting their own community business – so we ran a workshop, with a new partner organisation It is a great way of getting national attention for community businesses.”
80% of people agreed that Community Business Weekend helped local people understand what they do and how to get involved. And 97% of organisers would recommend other community businesses to take part next year. The more people that get involved and host events makes a powerful community business movement.
Community Business Weekend 2019 will be taking place next Spring. Sign up to be the first to hear about the plans.