Community share issues given a boost by Co-op

 

The Co-operative this week launched a new scheme to help community projects that are struggling to get off the ground because of problems raising finance.

The scheme will underwrite community share issues for such projects as pubs to post offices.

There has been a boom in such initiatives as local people look to repair the damage of lost amenities by setting up their own.

It's a growing movement. The latest figures show a near 10 per cent, year-on-year growth in enterprises set up, run and controlled for the benefit of the community by local people.

To help communities gain investor confidence in their projects, the Co-operative Enterprise Hub has set up a revolving fund of £500,000 that will underwrite a community share issue by up to £50,000.

The hope is that the move will reassure investors, explained Ian Rothwell, development manager for Co-operative and Community Finance.

"Our support could mean that the share issue will reach its target without needing our investment," he said.

"Our approach also ensures that community enterprises have access to providers of specialist support and advice on planning and community participation – steps critical to the success of a community share issue," Mr Rothwell added.

For more information about the support available for community share issues and full details of how the new underwriting scheme works, go to www.communitysharesfund.coop.

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