Locality and Co-operatives UK champion creation of community shares unit

Report by the umbrella bodies says such an organisation would support those developing community share projects


A community shares unit should be set up in order to continue the rapid growth of the community shares movement, according to a report published last week by the umbrella bodies Locality and Co-operatives UK.

The Practitioner's Guide to Community Shares, written by the consultant Jim Brown, says the unit is needed to support the development of community share projects, which allow ordinary people to club together and take ownership of local resources, such as pubs, shops and football teams.

It says the unit could foster a "co-regulation" environment to ensure that community share issues followed best practice but were not stifled by red tape.

The report says financial intermediaries should be developed to provide underwriting and bridging funding for community share issues, which often take a long time to launch.

Brown said that the movement was growing fast and might eventually need a fund of between £20m and £50m to support it.

He said he hoped to persuade the Big Society Bank to become an investor in such a fund.

Brown said negotiations were under way to secure government funding for a community shares unit, which he hoped would be funded in a similar way to Locality's Asset Transfer Unit.

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