Surge of interest in community shares

Numbers more than double in 2009

Community shares more than doubled in popularity in 2009, according to a report to be published this week.

Community Shares: One Year On will analyse the effectiveness of community shares, used when a large number of local people buy shares in a local business such as a pub, shop or football club. The report will show that they have grown in popularity from an average of four a year in the 1990s to 11 in 2008 and 28 in 2009.

Jim Brown, one of the report's authors and the consultant leading the Community Shares Programme, a partnership between the Development Trusts Association and Cooperatives UK, said that because a number of projects were in the pipeline, it was likely there would be a further sharp rise in the use of such shares in coming years.

"There's been a huge surge of interest in this model," he said. "It's from a low base, but the enthusiasm with which communities embrace this model suggests it will continue to grow and grow."

The Communities and Local Government department and the Office of the Third Sector, which jointly funded the research project, wanted to ensure that community shares were administered effectively, said Brown.

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