Projekts MCR Limited was established in 2004. They are a Community Benefit Society with the aim of developing people and places through skateboarding and other skatepark activities. They are focussed on making skateboarding accessible to under-represented groups, particularly people living in areas of high deprivation, girls and women and people with disabilities. They do this primarily through coaching work in schools and at the skatepark. Over the last 14 years Projekts MCR has used skateboarding to enrich the lives of over 20,000 people, mainly children and young people, living in and around Manchester. The skatepark sees over 18,000 visits a year and Projekts delivers over 20 coaching sessions a week to schools and youth related groups in Greater Manchester.
How did they do it?
Community shares are withdrawable shares that cannot be sold, traded or transferred between Members, unlike shares in a typical company. The minimum amount people could invest was £100 and the maximum was £20,000. All investors have the same terms and conditions and are entitled to one vote – regardless of how much they invest.
The Community Shares Booster Programme, funded by Power to Change and managed by the Community Shares Unit, matches pound to pound up to £100,000 raised via the community shares raised.
“It’s different to writing a funding bid,” continues John, “as you have to get everyone on board to help spread the word and you have no idea if you will be successful or not. We had some good breakthroughs and every time we extended the deadline for the share offer, we attracted new investors. It’s amazing to see who gives, even after the smallest, informal connection. Even though it was really hard, I would recommend it as we raised over £130,000. It’s also helped us attract new supporters.”
Projekts MCR attracted investors using the Crowdfunding platform and plan to offer investors 4% interest on their investment each year after 2021 Year 3 and the investment is withdrawable after three years. Investors can also claim up to 30% Social Investment Tax Relief on their shares, provided they are eligible UK income taxpayers.
Making a difference to real people
The growth in attendance from people living locally (8 neighbourhoods are in the 10% most deprived in England) has continued to grow over the last four years and is the result of their outreach work in primary schools in this area. Over 3000 children each year attend the skatepark. In particular their engagement work with hard-to-reach groups such as children excluded from mainstream education and women and girls is re-engaging people in physical activity and enabling them to feel part of something.
How is it community-led?
“The skatepark community is active and supportive and we believe there is a relationship where the skatepark provides a safe and welcoming space for the community and the community makes the skatepark a vibrant, fun and supportive environment in which its members flourish. The community share offer is a great opportunity for the community to come together to invest in helping Projekts MCR to extend its reach and fulfil its potential. It feels we now have a proper membership. We are planning a members event with investors to say thank you. Our AGM is also coming up and all our new members will have a vote on our future plans.” John Haines, CEO and Director Projekts MCR.