The Inspiration

Be inspired by examples of co-operative solutions to health and wellbeing challenges! Across the world and the UK, communities are already helping people lead healthier, happier lives.

Every place and person is different, so our aim is to help you find out what might work in your community. This could be anything from addressing loneliness to walking groups, eating or cooking more healthily, to supporting older people to stay in their community.

Whilst the role of co-operatives in health and social care has not been a major one in the UK in recent times, particularly not community co-operative models, it is not so elsewhere. Around the world 300 million people are supported by health and care co-operatives. The forms that these take vary widely.

Co-operatives have unique advantages and are so successful because they:

  • build upon and strengthen existing community and social bonds
  • are enterprising and generate an income, and able to access grant funding
  • can give a voice to everyone involved – including those needing support or a service and their families
  • have room for volunteering and shared learning, as well as paid-for work
  • can benefit from economies of scale by joining together.


community shops & pubs in the UK, with 60k members & volunteers


We have brought together examples of those models that are most relevant to rural communities across England; some are already used here, others not yet or are being piloted.

Community shops, pubs, farms, woodlands and more already offer so much more than just one service – innovating and contributing to people’s wellbeing, connectedness and ability to stay in their community.


Communities, both place-based and where people share a common identity or affinity, have a vital contribution to make to health and wellbeing. Community life, social connections and having a voice in local decisions are all factors that underpin good health…

Public Health England & NHS England, 2015

A guide to community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing

Nice man in front of Raven Inn (Plunkett image)