£1million given to match community shares raised in England

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Over £1m given to 17 community organisations in match-funded equity investments
13 Feb, 2019
  • Over £1m given to 17 community organisations in match-funded equity investments as part of Community Shares Booster Programme
  • 4,350 people invested £2.2m in community shares to save vital local spaces
  • Projekts MCR skate park is the latest community owned project to receive support


Projekts MCR skate park in Manchester is the latest community-owned space to receive match equity funding from the Community Shares Booster Programme, which has seen 17 groups receive over £1m in equity investment since 2017.

Located in a previously disused space under the ring road, Projekts MCR skate park forms a vital community hub in inner city Manchester, providing a safe place for people young and old to build their confidence, make friends and be active.  They run female-only classes, adults’ classes and reach over 3,000 children a year through skateboard coaching classes.

John Haines from Projekts MCR explains what the Booster funding has meant to their community: “Over the last five years skate park attendance has shot up and so we recognised a need to expand, launching our first ever community share offer with an initial target of £50,000 to add more skate space, energy-saving LED floodlights and expand our spectator space. In the end we raised £132,000, including match investment of £67,194 from the Booster Programme, smashing our target!  As well as the funding, through the share offer we’ve built a group of committed supporters who really care about the skate park and our work, because they have a stake in it. We cannot thank them enough!” 

Community shares are 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 pools to pubs, community housing to heritage buildings.

The Booster Programme, led by Co-operatives UK and funded by independent trust Power to Change, has helped communities across the country to own, develop and save much-loved spaces and buildings including Nenthead Chapel in Cumbria, Stretford Public Hall in Manchester, Sutton Community Farm in London and Jubilee Pool in Penzance. Over 4,350 people raised over £2.2m in community shares in share offers supported by the Booster, some of them investing as little as £20, with over £1m in Booster equity investments topping up the funds raised locally.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said:

“Investing over £1m via the Booster Programme is an important milestone, and it shows that, with the right support, communities relish the opportunity to look after the places that are important to them.  Community share offers can only be run by co-operatives or community benefit societies, as through their investment they become members who own the asset and have a say in decision making. We are seeing a rise in this type of organisation being formed as more and more people take control of community life.”

Sara Buchanan, joint Head of Open Programmes at Power to Change said:

“We believe that community businesses can change lives and transform places for the better. This incredible milestone in the booster programme demonstrates how powerful community shares can be and we’re delighted to be able to support so many of them in this way.”

The Community Shares Booster Programme invests equity of up to £100,000 to match community shares investments into societies that can demonstrate higher than average levels of community impact, innovation and engagement. The Booster Programme is led by Co-operatives UK in partnership with Locality, with funding from independent trust Power to Change.

Communities wanting to find out more or who are considering community share offers should contact communityshares@uk.coop

Watch our video about Projekts MCR skatepark in Manchester  

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Note to editors

Contact, for interviews with Ed Mayo or Projekts MCR contact Wendy Carter on 0161 214 1795 / 07946 314038.

Co-operatives UK is the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives. Together we work to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses across the economy. From high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, co-operatives are everywhere and together they are worth £36 billion to the British economy.


Booster Community Shares investments since December 2017


About Community Shares

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.

The term ‘community shares’ refers to withdrawable share capital; a form of share capital unique to co-operative and community benefit society legislation. This type of share capital can only be issued by co-operative societies, community benefit societies and charitable community benefit societies.

Community shares can save local shops and pubs, finance renewable energy schemes, transform community facilities, support local food growing, fund new football clubs, restore heritage buildings, and above all, build stronger, more vibrant, and independent communities.

Since 2009, over 120,000 people have invested over £100m to support over 350 community businesses throughout the UK.

About the Booster Programme

The Community Shares Booster Programme is a funding scheme to support community share offers. It invests equity up to £100,000 to match community shares in societies that can demonstrate higher than average levels of community impact, innovation and engagement. Match funding is in the form of equity held on equal terms with other community shareholders.

The programme also provides development grants of up to £10,000 to help societies get investment ready and meet standards of good practice.

Power to Change has provided £3m funding for the Booster Programme over a five-year period from 2017-22. The programme is expected to match fund around 60 share offers in the first three years of the programme (to 2020) and then provide active investor support to societies on a continuing basis. The programme is run by the Community Shares Unit, a joint initiative between Co-operatives UK and Locality.

About the Community Shares Unit

The CSU is a joint initiative between Locality and Co-operatives UK, which since 2012 has had an overriding objective to grow a sustainable market and ensure the long-term success of the use of community shares to raise equity finance and participation, with due process and protection for investors, in a range of community and co-operative enterprises. Unlike other shares, community shares operate on a one member one vote system rather than number of shares. Members have the right to vote, and have an equal say in the direction of the business.

About Locality

Locality supports local community organisations to be strong and successful.Locality’s national network of over 600 members helps more than 400,000 people every week. Locality offers specialist advice, peer learning and campaign with members for a fairer society.  www.locality.org.uk


About Power to Change

Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England. Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. There are nearly 7,000 community businesses across England employing 35,500 people, with a combined income of £1.2bn.

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the Big Lottery Fund in 2015.

www.powertochange.org.uk @peoplesbiz

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to workwith the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.