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Dec 7

£3m boost for local people wanting to take business into community hands

Community shares

Local groups needing an extra boost to set up or grow a community business can access support and match funding to launch their share offer, thanks to the Community Shares Booster programme, which reopens today.

Community shares is a popular approach to raising finance, in which local people invest often small sums of money and become co-owners of vital local enterprises – from affordable housing to community pubs to green energy.

A new £3 million injection into the programme will support groups seeking to launch community shares offers, potentially boost their investment raise and provide ongoing support following their offer. The first development grants and equity investments will be awarded from early 2018 as part of this five-year programme, delivered by the Community Shares Unit, a joint initiative between Co-operatives UK and Locality, and funded by Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England.

Successful applicants could receive a business development support grant up to £10,000 in advance of launching their community share offer. After that, their organisation could have access to up to £100,000 match funding when the share offer goes live. Match funding will be in the form of equity held on equal terms with other community shareholders.

The original £1 million Community Shares Booster Programme Pilot, which began in 2016, supported 15 community businesses. Local people were able to restore a grade 2 Iisted Victorian ballroom in Manchester, build a new green-build straw-bale roundhouse in South Derbyshire, expand a community farm in London, build community-developed homes in Leeds and save a 122 year old railway pier for community use in Suffolk.

Simon Borkin, Programme Lead at Co-operatives UK, said: “We believe the community shares market still has the potential for further growth and the Booster programme will provide a welcome stimulus to community businesses considering raising this form of socially-aligned and patient finance. We have already invested alongside as many as 3,000 investors and look forward to supporting many more offers through this scheme.”

Tony Armstrong, CEO of Locality: “Community Shares harness the power and spirit of enterprise in communities – showing the power of community action to financially support great ideas and inspirational projects.  We welcome this new investment to boost community shares so that more people can come together to develop new projects, benefit local economies and thriving communities.”

Ged Devlin, Programme Manager at Power to Change added: “Around a third of Community Shares Booster awards to date have been made to groups located in the 10% most deprived communities as identified by the Index of Multiple Deprivation and we are confident the programme has engaged groups which, but for this support, would not have considered issuing a share offer. We are looking forward to supporting more disadvantaged groups and help put businesses into community ownership.”

To date, the programme has supported 15 community businesses, awarding over £100,000 in development grants allowing them to develop their share offer, as well as investing over £600,000 in 11 community businesses as matched equity investments, releasing as much as £1.5 million into the community business market.

Groups can apply to the programme here and also sign up to a FAQs webinar on Wednesday 13 December 2017 here.


  1. Dr. Siva Narayan

    Posted 07/12/17 at 10:16 am  |  Permalink

    I have Robotics Club and Working with many Schools and would like to expand.

    • Bec Speidel

      Bec Speidel

      Posted 07/12/17 at 5:23 pm  |  Permalink

      Hi there,

      Please follow the link to find out what the funding is all about and visit the Community Shares Booster programme website to look at criteria and find out more.

  2. Glen Monks

    Posted 07/12/17 at 10:17 am  |  Permalink

    I have been considering looking at funding for a local mens group. Please provide criteria

    • Bec Speidel

      Bec Speidel

      Posted 07/12/17 at 5:24 pm  |  Permalink

      Hi Glen,

      Please follow the link to find out what the funding is all about and visit the Community Shares Booster programme website to look at criteria and find out more.


  3. John Bloxsom

    Posted 07/12/17 at 11:44 am  |  Permalink

    Stroud Trust wishes to consider community shares as part of the mix of funding needed to lease, improve and operate Stroud Subscription Rooms. This asset is currently owned and managed by our District Council. We have a current application to the Bright Ideas Fund and have previously contracted with Locality – working with Phil Tulba and Paul Hassan.


    Posted 07/12/17 at 12:22 pm  |  Permalink

    It is fantastic


    Posted 07/12/17 at 12:27 pm  |  Permalink



    Posted 07/12/17 at 12:30 pm  |  Permalink

    you are a good example to the society

  7. Caroline Afolabi-Deleu

    Posted 07/12/17 at 3:54 pm  |  Permalink

    We can’t make this deadline as we have just learnt from this offer.
    Will there be other deadlines? If so, can you give me an idea of when they will be?
    Many thanks

    • Bec Speidel

      Bec Speidel

      Posted 07/12/17 at 5:27 pm  |  Permalink

      Hi Caroline,

      The programme reopened today and applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with grant and investment decisions made within eight weeks of application. Please follow the link in this article to the Community Shares Booster programme website where you can find out everything you need to know about the programme and how it works.


  8. Chrsitine Hughes

    Posted 08/12/17 at 10:14 am  |  Permalink

    good morning, I am Christine Hughes the scheme coordinator at Glenmay Court in Stretford Manchester.
    would it be possible to get some funding for activities for the residents like chair exercises, line dancing to keep them active?
    They also like trips out and going to the cinema.

  9. Mr. Tikaram Joshi

    Posted 10/12/17 at 2:15 pm  |  Permalink

    We started as a very small community base organization that was being rejected by several donors because we had no funding management history and being a community learning center. we were judged by our appearance. hope for funding support to nclc nepal from frida with other donor agencies. If your objective are meet with nepalgunj community learning center (nclc).

  10. Russell Jackman

    Posted 10/12/17 at 5:33 pm  |  Permalink

    I am the head coach of a City trampoline club working from the three main leisure centres. We have just 300 members now. Our recreational base is very well provided for with quality equipment and coaching. However, our small competitive leg does not use the latest model of trampoline, a Eurotramp Ultimate, which is used in all competitions. I would like them to train on one of these to give them a level playing field in future events. That is what I want funding for.

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