Press release

£1million given to match community shares raised in England

Projekts MCR skate park in Manchester is the latest community-owned space to receive match equity funding from the Community Shares Booster Programme, which has seen 17 groups receive over £1m in equity investment since 2017.

Located in a previously disused space under the ring road, Projekts MCR skate park forms a vital community hub in inner city Manchester, providing a safe place for people young and old to build their confidence, make friends and be active.  They run female-only classes, adults’ classes and reach over 3,000 children a year through skateboard coaching classes.

“Over the last five years skate park attendance has shot up and so we recognised a need to expand, launching our first ever community share offer with an initial target of £50,000 to add more skate space, energy-saving LED floodlights and expand our spectator space.

In the end we raised £132,000, including match investment of £67,194 from the Booster Programme, smashing our target! 

As well as the funding, through the share offer we’ve built a group of committed supporters who really care about the skate park and our work, because they have a stake in it. We cannot thank them enough!” John Haines - Projekts MCR 

Community shares are a popular approach to raising finance, in which local people invest often small sums of money and become co-owners of vital local enterprises – from pools to pubs, community housing to heritage buildings.

The Booster Programme, led by Co-operatives UK and funded by independent trust Power to Change, has helped communities across the country to own, develop and save much-loved spaces and buildings including Nenthead Chapel in Cumbria, Stretford Public Hall in Manchester, Sutton Community Farm in London and Jubilee Pool in Penzance. Over 4,350 people raised over £2.2m in community shares in share offers supported by the Booster, some of them investing as little as £20, with over £1m in Booster equity investments topping up the funds raised locally.

“Investing over £1m via the Booster Programme is an important milestone, and it shows that, with the right support, communities relish the opportunity to look after the places that are important to them. 

Community share offers can only be run by co-operatives or community benefit societies, as through their investment they become members who own the asset and have a say in decision making. We are seeing a rise in this type of organisation being formed as more and more people take control of community life.” Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK

Communities wanting to find out more or who are considering community share offers should contact [email protected]

Watch our video about Projekts MCR skatepark in Manchester, which received support through co-op development programme The Hive, supported by The Co-operative Bank.