Like so many football clubs, Liverpool’s Litherland REMYCA is at the heart of its local area. It has 25 teams, spanning under-7s to over-50s, meaning that kids, parents and grandparents are involved in the club. And, with its successful first team playing in the first division of the North West Counties Football League, Litherland is a vital grassroots club.
But the volunteers who oversee the club wanted it to do more. They see the social good football can bring to people, from health and well-being to education and employment, and so began searching for a way to embed the club in the local area.
Why not, they asked, find a way for local people to have a direct say in the club? And so they came up with a plan to give local people – not just the players, families and fans but the wider community too – a stake in the organisation: by turning it into a co-operative that is owned and run by them all, together.
With expert support from The Hive, run by Co-operatives UK in partnership with the Co-operative Bank, the club is now on a journey to becoming a co-op run by and for the community. Local people will be able to invest small sums of money in the club in return for an equal stake in it. The approach, known as ‘community shares’ has been successfully used by a range or organisations, from sports clubs to shops and historic buildings, to give local people a say and an opportunity to invest in important assets in their area.
For the club’s Chairman, Don Rimmer, the benefits are obvious. He said: "We have a clear vision to extend our role, broaden our activities and add social value to what we do, to make a transition to a community owned grassroots football club.
"The concept of wider open membership provides a democratic model through which people have a stake in how the club is organised and develops – and the potential to increase membership offers the prospect of financial sustainability, giving real security for the long term future of the club."
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