A New Community Share Unit has just been launched to help local people claim a stake and become part owners of much loved local assets and services such as their community pub, football club or even in the generation of renewable energy!
Community shares let local people to take a more active in role in their communities by giving members - as part-owners - a direct say in their success, encouraging them to play an active part in their future. Most investors buy shares to help achieve a social good, however if the enterprise is successful they may also benefit from dividend payments.
Dividends can be paid in money, but also in kind, with cheaper energy, cut-price pints, and local, fairly-priced food as possible incentives.
The unit is run by the Co-op and Locality - the country’s largest network of community led organisations. The new Community Share Unit will enable more local enterprises to use share offers as a way of raising finance - in particular risk capital - to purchase buildings or get new projects up and running.
This continues the extension to communities of the powers they need to run their own affairs. Across the country, communities are showing they have the ambition and determination to secure ownership of important local assets and get new projects off the ground. These shares are about creating the conditions in which social investment and community finance can flourish to make this happen. This new unit will give a helping hand for groups to take full advantage of the opportunity to do things their way, in the best interests of their area.
The new unit aims to grow the community shares market with the ambition of launching over 200 share issues over the next three years. It will also offer guidance and advice to investors seeking to understand more about the market, and support community enterprises, with services such as checking offer documents.
In the last 3 years over 15,000 people have already invested in over 100 community share issues, raising over £15million!