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Raising money for local community projects

Community Shares

Community shares enable residents to invest financially in community projects. By buying shares and becoming part-owners of a business, local people can become supporters, volunteers and advocates, not just customers, and projects get much needed funding to get started and become financially sustainable. They can be used to run community farms, establish community shops or purchase solar panels. Not all the funding for the project needs to be raised through shares: you may find that having this base attracts larger private investors too.  

Here’s how

Step 1: develop a business plan

For your venture to succeed and attract financial support it needs to be as professional as possible. Your plan needs to demonstrate that your business will be viable, profitable and sustainable.

Step 2: engage the community

Gain support from as many people as possible: this creates customers as well as attracting investors.

Step 3: register your community organisation

To raise capital by issuing shares, you need to set up as an Industrial Provident Society and will need to abide by the rules which govern co-operative societies.

Step 4: develop a share offer prospectus

This should be a powerful document which inspires people to invest and gives them all the information they need to make that decision.

Step 5: issue share offer

Once your funding is secure, you can get your community enterprise off the ground.

Community Experiences:

  • In Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, the owner of the village shop was retiring but residents wanted to see the shop continue. So they formed a community group and raised the money to keep it open by selling community shares at £10 each. More than 100 bought shares and the group raised £18,000, while other volunteers gave their time and expertise refurbishing and modernising the premises. The Green Valley Greengrocer opened six weeks after the shop closed, creating new jobs and retaining a much loved focal point for village life.

  • Simon Opie, Chief Executive of Hastings Pier Charity  “We are engaged in creating a unique operating model for the Pier and I can honestly say we could not be doing this work without the support of the Community Shares Unit. The success of the Community Shares offer is the key to sustaining the future of the Pier as a thriving social enterprise and to ensure that success requires access to experience and knowledge of the social investment landscape. We have been very fortunate to benefit from the expertise available to us within the Community Shares Unit team. “ 

Community shares has further information.

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