Spring news update

Students and investor-supporters secure sustainable student housing in Birmingham

Multi-stakeholder co-operative Student Co-operative Homes (SCH) has secured a financial package enabling the purchase of a property that will provide affordable tenancies and access to democratically owned accommodation for students in the Birmingham area.

Founded in March 2018, SCH aims to bring together existing and start up student housing co-operatives across the UK and build a portfolio of properties for lease to local self-managing student housing co-ops.

Read more here

We’re sponsoring the Stir To Action Festival this summer

Taking place on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July at the Arts Mansion, Ashton Court Estate, Bristol, the ABCs Festival is a two-day interactive event bringing together hundreds of people who are transforming their local economy to participate in almost 30 practical workshops, inspirational panels, and ideas surgeries. We're thrilled to be sponsoring.

The programme has been announced and it covers everything from community shares to climate action, AI and sociocracy as well as finance for co-ops and community businesses.

Find out more here.

Talk to us at Congress!

It's that time of year again, when co-operators gather for Co-operatives UK flagship annual event, Congress. Taking place in Birmingham on 14 and 15 June, there is a packed programme of main-room sessions and fringe events, kicking off with a keynote on Climate Action from Ecotricity founder Dale Vince OBE.

We'll be exhibiting there, so if you're thinking about finance for your co-operative or community owned business, come and see us. No question too small!

Powering our Communities Fund open for applications

Electricity North West are accepting applications for projects in the North West of England that enable communities to take part in the development and delivery of community energy projects.

In particular, projects that can demonstrate how they can contribute to the delivery of one, or more, of the following priorities:
  1. Activity to seed the development of a community energy project
  2. Activity to address a specific barrier that is holding back the development of a community energy project
  3. Adopting a proven community energy approach or business model in a new community or situation.
Find out more and apply for £5000-£15000 here before 5PM 26th July.

The Better Community Business Network Grant Initiative is open for applications

Awarding just 12 grants of up to £3000 per year, competition may be stiff but the funds awarded can be for a range of purposes so they might be a good fit for a specific project. Previous awards have included community art installation workshops, a dishwasher for a community space, mentorship around employability for Muslim women, coffee tables for a social space to combat isolation, and more.

Find out if you are eligible here.

Matchfunding for co-ops or community businesses to go green

Funding matched to community shares is now available to help you invest in energy efficiency measures which will reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint. This could include specific items such as heat pumps or solar panels, double glazing or LED lighting, as well as supporting the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and transport.

Co-operatives UK and Crowdfunder have launched the £250,000 Energy Efficiency Sharematch fund to support community businesses as they invest in greener ways of operating. Provided by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment Sharematch uses funds from the Dormant Assets Scheme, which redirects money from forgotten accounts to good causes.

Find out more here and find the full eligibility criteria here. Ready to go? Fill in the Expression of Interest form here.

New report from Power to Change

Positioning community business as being ‘untapped potential’, Financing The Future Economy, released on the 16th May, shares that community businesses across England have a combined income of just under £1bn, and tend to operate in a hybrid fashion, with grants and earned/commercial income both playing a part.

Read more here.

New report from Social Investment Business

A new report from the Social Investment Business (SIB) reveals that over 7,300 community buildings in England do not meet basic energy efficiency

7,375 such buildings do not meet a basic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C, which is often suggested as the minimum required for lettings. Further, 790 have an EPC rating of G – the lowest band available.

Are you part of an organisation which uses, manages or has responsibility for a community building? Would you like to find out how your building performs, and make it better? Help is available - find out more here.

The Future Economy Alliance

We are proud to support the Future Economy Alliance, which is working to build an economy where society profits.

As we approach a General Election, they want to build a movement that can’t be ignored, to make sure our next government takes a new political approach to business: doing what’s best for people and planet, not just for profits.

Do you want to be part of this change? Find out how to get involved here and mark your diary for the 18th June. A Day of Action

Read more here.

We’re on Co-operative Development Scotland’s Reset and Rebuild podcast!

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) has launched new episodes of its Reset and Rebuild podcast highlighting the benefits of inclusive business models.

This series of podcasts sets out to energise businesses, communities, policy makers and the wider eco system in Scotland to consider inclusive business models and encourage them to connect with CDS to access support.

Our own Business Development manager Tim Coomer features in Episode 16, which explores understanding and accessing finance as a key challenge for new and growing coops. Listen here.
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