Community Shares launched

Communities Minister Don Foster has launched a new Community Shares Unit to help local people claim a stake and become part owners of much loved local assets and services such as their community pub, football club or even in the generation of renewable energy.

Community shares will let local people take a more active in role in their communities by giving members, as part-owners, a direct say in their success, encouraging them to play an active part in their future. Most investors will buy shares to help achieve a social good, however if the enterprise is successful they may also benefit from dividend payments. Dividends can be paid in money, but also in kind, with cheaper energy, cut-price pints, and local, fairly-priced food as possible incentives.

Backed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and run by Co-operatives UK and Locality, the country's largest network of community led organisations, the new Community Shares Unit will enable more local enterprises to use share offers as a way of raising finance, in particular risk capital, to purchase buildings or get new projects up and running.

The new unit aims to grow the community shares market with the ambition of launching over 200 share issues over the next three years. It will also offer guidance and advice to investors seeking to understand more about the market, and support community enterprises, with services such as checking offer documents.

For further information on community shares visit