Community businesses are not new. There are more than 5,000 of them in England and they grew in number by 9% in 2015. Here are some reasons why:

They are responsive

A community business can diversify its income in response to local needs and does not have to depend on just one way of earning its living.

The time is right

Reductions in public spending mean that leisure centres, libraries and post offices are closing across the country. Local people can work with their council or use recently passed legislation to take control of those threatened assets to run them for the benefit of the community.

They are resilient

Because of the involvement of local people in all aspects of their community business – be they as shareholders, employees, volunteers or customers – that commitment means they can weather challenging times together.