It was back in August 2015 that Can Do Places first did a feature on Community Shares Scotland (CSS). Time for an update.
Community Shares, you may recall, allow funds to be raised for enterprises that will benefit the community. They can: “. . . only be issued by co-operative societies, community benefit societies and charitable community benefit societies . . . and are designed to save local shops and pubs; finance renewable energy schemes, transform community facilities, support local food growing, fund new football clubs, restore heritage buildings” etc.
Toby Sandison, Programme and Communications Officer for Community Shares Scotland which is based in Edinburgh and was set up specifically to guide community groups through the Community Shares process (for free), told us:
“Things are going well and we’ve had a busy summer. In just one two-month period, £500,000 (five hundred thousand) has been raised in community shares issues in Scotland.”
One of the groups the CSS has recently steered to a successful community shares issue (ongoing projects include £350k for a wind energy scheme in North Uist) is the Dunshalt Community Shop in Fife.
Dunshalt which has no pub, school or church, lost its only shop and post office in May 2016, the owner citing lack of business for the closure.
Villagers got together and formed the Dunshalt Community Shop Steering Group with the aim of buying the shop for the community.
Said Steering Group chair, Eleanor Porter: “When the shop closed we lost the only place where people bumped into each other and shared their views. Buses are few and far between and villagers without transport have had to rely on others with cars to buy basic necessities. The shop was the glue that held the community together.”
Thanks to a huge amount of hard work on their part, the Steering Group were awarded a grant of £97,500 from the Scotland Land Fund scheme to buy the premises. But more money was needed to get the shop up and running which is where Community Shares Scotland came in.
Says Eleanor: “Our target was to raise £30,000 in two months. We always thought it would be a stretch for such a small village to realise that amount of money but we actually beat our target and got £31,700! And it wasn’t just local people who bought shares. We had support from all over the UK, from Cheltenham down in England right up to Inverness.”
She added: “The Dunshalt Community Shop won’t be just a shop – it will be a social hub. And a social hub with a coffee machine!”
Further information at:
Community Shares Scotland – www.communitysharesscotland.org.uk
Dunshalt Village Project – www.dunshaltvillage.co.uk/41-save-our-shop
Community Shares Scotland Case Studies
Morebattle Village Shop, raising £50k for a community shop in the Scottish Borders https://www.morebattlecommunityshop.co.uk/
Bridgend Farmhouse, raising £30k-£100k for a community learning centre in south Edinburgh: https://crowdfunder.co.uk/bridgendfarmhouse
Awesome Energy, raising £500k to refinance an existing community hydroelectric scheme https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/awesome-energy-hydro
GlenWyvis Distillery, undertaking a second share offer to further expand their offering and reduce commercial borrowing https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-glenwyvis-open-share-offer
Community Shares Scotland is again teaming up with Social Investment Scotland to run a series of workshop events throughout Central Scotland.
Each session will provide a comprehensive introduction to social investment, including community shares, and how it can be used by community enterprises to enable greater growth, sustainability and social impact.
For details of venues and dates see below: