We are delighted to announce that the Heart of England Co-operative Society has invested £10,000 in our ICOF Community Capital (ICC) loan fund, to help pioneering communities thrive.
The ICOF fund aims to provide loan capital to support both new and growing co-operative and community businesses that provide social and environmental benefits.
A recent market report said that in 2019 there were 9,000 community businesses operating in England, employing 33,900 people, with a further 205,600 volunteers – an increase of almost two-thirds on the previous year making an estimated £890 million contribution to the economy.
Ali Kurji, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Co-operative Society, said: “Our roots as a co-operative society stretch back to 1832. We started from humble beginnings – being founded by a group of nine ribbon weavers who opened one shop in Coventry.
“Today we operate a network of 35 Food stores and 15 Funeral homes and it is thanks to the co-operative movement that we have been able to continue building our Society over nearly two centuries.”
“By investing in the ICC we are giving back to the co-operative movement, giving local communities the same opportunity to take ownership of their own local assets – whether it be a pub, a shop, a local creche, a recycling business or a housing co-operative.”
“This in turn will help provide training and employment opportunities and regenerate communities and build thriving businesses, with people able to spend on a wide range of facilities in their local areas.”
Tim Coomer, Business Development Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the investment from Heart of England Co-operative Society, which will help us support more communities to take control and deliver local solutions to meet local needs as a co-operative.”
“The ICC fund has lent over £3.5m so far and this investment will enable us to do more, especially at this time when we need to do all we can to get our community businesses moving again.”