Raise investment through Community Shares

Since 2012, over £155 million has been raised in community shares to save and create over 440 democratically owned and run co-operative and community businesses across the UK. Through this unique form of finance, communities have saved local shops and pubs, financed renewable energy schemes, transformed community facilities, supported local food growing, funded new football clubs, restored heritage buildings, and above all, built stronger, more vibrant, and independent communities and co-operatives.


This course will be delivered over three 1.5 hr sessions over three months.

First course: October 6, 2021 2pm - 3.30pm, November 10, 2021, 2021 2pm - 3.30pm, December 1, 2021 2pm - 3.30pm.

Second course: March 30, 2022 2pm - 3.30pm, April 27, 2022 2pm - 3.30pm, May 25, 2022 2pm - 3.30pm.


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Session 1: An introduction to and exploration of the key considerations when developing a successful share offer, looking at business and governance models.

Session 2: An overview of the steps to take and how to navigate the external support available to develop a community share offer and how to work with specialised consultants and practitioners in this field.

Session 3: Insights into existing community shares investor demographics and motivations. Discussions around engagement and inclusiveness of community share offers.


Session 1: A technical understanding of community share offers and the co-operative and community benefit society legal structures at the heart of a community share offer.

Session 2: An understanding of the roles of community shares practitioners and how to work with external expertise in developing your share offer, and an awareness of best practice standards for community share offers in line with the Community Shares Unit’s Standard Mark.

Session 3: Tools and techniques to mobilise and engage your community with a view to build membership and attract mission aligned community investors.

  • Founders, volunteers or directors of emerging and existing co-ops and community businesses who are looking to understand this unique form of finance.
  • Advisers and practitioners looking to support community groups through business and finance advice
  • Policy makers and officers looking to create favourable conditions for community enterprise in their localities

Isla McCulloch is the Community Shares Standards Manager at Co-operatives UK. As part of the Community Shares Unit, she oversees training and licensing for practitioners and the Community Shares Standard Mark, which recognises high quality community share offers. She also leads on our research and market intelligence on the community shares market and supports with the groundbreaking Community Shares Booster Programme, which provides match investment for innovative share offers with high levels of community engagement. Based in Scotland, Isla is the Chair of Dig-In Bruntsfield, a community owned greengrocers in Edinburgh which raised start up funding through community shares in 2014.


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