Money raised through community share offers 'trebled last year'

Estimates show that the amount of money raised through the activity increased to about £9m last year and are a sign of vitality, says Simon Borkin of Community Shares Unit

Simon Borkin
Simon Borkin

The amount of money raised through community share offers rose to about £9m in 2012 from about £3m in 2011, according to figures published by the infrastructure body the Community Shares Unit.

The figures also show that about 9,000 people purchased community shares in 2012, compared with 4,000 in 2011.

Community shares allow large numbers of people to make small investments to buy assets such as local pubs and village shops. Organisations formed using community share offers usually use the industrial and provident society legal form.

Simon Borkin, programme leader at the CSU, said the figures are estimates based on information from several sources, including the CSU itself, Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative Enterprise Hub and the Plunkett Foundation.

He said the figures are not comprehensive because the CSU cannot be sure it is aware of all community share issues.

Borkin said there were more than 30 share offers for 2012, similar to 2011. But there were several share offers "of considerable scale" last year, he said.

"These figures, although estimates, are a very pleasing sign of vitality and stability for community shares," he said. "After a bumper year in 2011, it is great to see a similar level of activity in 2012, with the scale of many share offers increasing to raise more equity and engage more members.

"We are already encouraged by what’s taken place early in 2013, and with the growing role of the CSU, we anticipate a growing presence for community shares".

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