Second phase of Booster Programme launched - now's your chance!
The Community Shares Booster Programme is a new innovative initiative to support and foster community business across England.
Following a first wave, a second window for applications is now open until Thursday 30th June 2016, although applications will be considered when they are submitted. Community groups seeking support should contact a community shares practitioner via the Practitioner Directory, to ask them to nominate their group It is important that the group shows that it meets Power to Change's definition of a community business, so have a look at the information here.
If successful a community group may receive a business development support grant up to £10,000 in advance of launching a community share offer. After that, the group could have access to match funding in the form of an equity investment up to £100,000 when the share offer goes live.
The £1m Community Shares Booster Programme is funded by Power to Change, an independent charitable trust set up with an endowment of £150m from Big Lottery Fund to create better places through community business across England.
It is being delivered through the Community Shares Unit (CSU), a partnership between Co-operatives UK and Locality. It is aimed at community businesses across all sectors, in which new and innovative models for community shares can be explored; particularly in more disadvantaged areas and sectors where community businesses are under-represented. In the first phase that has just closed, applicants included projects in heritage, housing, transport, farming and energy.
One of the groups that is being supported through the first phase of the Booster Programme is Friends of Stretford Public Hall. This is a heritage regeneration project based in west Manchester bringing back to life a building that is run by the community, for the community.
By buying shares in a community business, the public can become more involved and engaged in the prosperity of the place they live in. They can be loyal customers, and many are willing to be volunteers and activists, using their skills, expertise and knowledge – and passion - for the benefit of the enterprise and the wider community. Community businesses are a means of taking action to address local challenges and control vital assets and services that might otherwise disappear.
Further information on the Booster Programme can be found here.