Community Business ReBoost supports community businesses to raise community shares capital that can support their recovery, pivot or expand their business in response to Covid-19. With applications being accepted until 3 September 2021, we take a look at some of the community businesses who have already received investment.
Kirkoswald has had a village shop for as long as locals can remember. When the only remaining store closed in 2009, local philanthropist David Hodgkiss stepped in to save it, and with the help of volunteers he reopened the shop as Ravenbridge Stores. Sadly, David died last year, and the shop was put up for sale.
Locals were determined to save their beloved village shop from closure. Not only does it provide essential food and household goods, but it is also a vibrant community hub offering a lifeline to locals. They set up a steering group in September 2020 to incorporate a community benefit society and campaign to save their local shop.
The group secured a £5,000 development grant from the ReBoost programme to cover the costs of an independent valuation of the building, helping the group achieve the community shares standard mark and funding the marketing of their share offer, which launched in April 2021.
In addition to the grant, ReBoost has provided £25,000 of matched equity investment, alongside the £175,000 raised from over 250 individual investors who invested from as little as £25. The community are now the proud owners of the shop – a welcoming social hub as well as a post office and retail outlet.
Jubilee Pool – operated by community benefit society Jubilee Pool Penzance – is one of the last remaining salt-water lidos in Europe, providing health and wellbeing to all and preserving the community’s Grade II listed art-deco building.
Jubilee Pool Penzance always has to be prepared to weather storms due to its coastal location, but the impact of Covid-19 was unlike anything they had faced before. The pool and café had to shut, causing their reserves to be severely depleted. With a £5,000 development grant from ReBoost, they developed a recovery share offer to boost their cash reserves to help future-proof the community business to potential risks, but also so that it could be ready to respond to new opportunities.
The share offer was primarily sent to existing members who invested through the initial community share offer in 2018. A total of £50,140 was raised from 117 members, with a further £25,000 invested as matched funding from ReBoost. Jubilee Pool is now back open, operating below capacity due to Covid restrictions, but is more resilient with the additional share capital.
The Carnegie Library, built in 1906, is one of the most important heritage buildings in Erith and The Exchange was set up specifically to save it and to develop a sustainable community-led future for it. After the library closed local residents began imagining how to transform the building on ignite people’s imagination and promote the high street’s bright future as a place where people can get inventive and creative.
The Exchange is the trading name of The Exchange Erith Limited, a Community Benefit Society registered in 2019. The group set about raising the necessary £3.5m funds to renovate the building, including £115,285 from the Power to Change Community Business Fund.
Back in February 2020 things were going great. They had just secured £1M funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Bookstore café had just made a its first monthly profit. And then Covid hit. But they didn’t give up. The bookstore staff made sure the most vulnerable received hot, nutritious meals, an innovative digital programme was launched, and building work was started.
The Exchange launched a community share offer in February 2021 to raise the remaining finance needed to finish the build. Backed by the ReBoost programme, which pledged to match fund £1 for £1 up to £75k, they hit their maximum target having raised £78,880 in just three months. They now have over 450 community shareholders to drive forward the vision for the building and Erith.
Holmfirth Tech Limited is a historic landmark building, once a school, then a college, is now a community hub where people have fun, be creative, help each other and develop both their skills and their business. Holmfirth Tech Ltd, a community benefit society have run the building as a community hub since 2018. Having raised funds from grants and donors, they finally completed their purchase of the building and can begin refurbishment thanks to community shares.
Over 400 people were using the building before lockdown. The Covid-19 pandemic forced activities to stop but the community business became the Holme Valley’s Community Anchor, liaising between the Council, Third Sector Leaders, the NHS and local groups to provide support to local people during the Pandemic.
Despite a further lockdown, the determined committee launched a community share offer in January 2021, and raised £78,180 from 244 local people by 25 April 2021. This unlocked £75,000 match funding from the ReBoost programme to complete exceed their minimum £150,000 target. They are now starting on a renovation plan that will enable them to provide more arts, learning, wellbeing and enterprise activities from the hub.
Want help developing a community share offer for your community business?