Community Shares Booster Programme re-opens with £3m injection

6th Dec 2017
The Community Shares Booster Programme re-opens today in England with a £3m injection of funding from Power to Change to support community share offers through development grants and equity match. 

This new programme builds on the successful completion of the pilot project we delivered in 2016-17, which resulted in 11 societies launching successful share offers, raising over £1.5m in community shares, matched by just over £600,000 of equity through the Booster.

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

The objectives of this new Booster Programme remain to help disadvantaged and under-represented communities develop successful community businesses, especially in under-represented trade sectors, and financed through community share offers based on new forms of investment proposition, institutional support, and business appraisal methodologies. The programme is aimed at new and existing community businesses; it is not suitable for newly formed community groups that are in the early stages of developing a community business proposal.

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.”

Introducing new pathways

It will continue to invest equity up to £100,000 to match community shares in societies that can demonstrate higher than average levels of community impact, innovation and engagement. The programme will also still provide development grants of up to £10,000 to help societies get investment ready and meet standards of good practice. However, new to this programme is the introduction of three pathways to provide the right type of support and funding for applicants, depending on their stage of development:

  1. Preparing the offer - designed for groups who are on their way to finalising their community share offer but need additional development support to get them to launch. 
  2. Investment ready - community businesses will be in the final stages of preparing their community share offer, and are ready to apply for equity match of up to £100,000
  3. Live offers - in exceptional circumstances we will accept applications for equity match of up to £100,000 from community businesses that are about to launch, or have already launched their share offer.
Find out more and apply

To find out more and apply please visit our new microsite for the programme. We're also hosting a webinar at 1pm on Wednesday 13th December to let you find out more about the Community Shares Booster programme. We'll be going through the criteria and process, and joined by Charlotte Steel from Sutton Community Farm who was supported through the first phase of the programme. Register for the webinar here.