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Brought to you in partnership with Locality, Plunkett UK and Power to Change

"Busiest year ever for supporting community shares" – 2023 Impact Report published

News item

21st February 2024
Last updated
14th March 2024
Co-op development
Community Shares impact report 2023

The Community Shares Impact Report 2023 looks back over the activities and achievements of the Community Shares Unit in 2023 – its busiest year ever for supporting community investment that positively impacts people’s lives. 

Co-operatives UK has published the first ever Community Shares Impact Report of its community shares work. A retrospective of 2023, the report captures some of the numbers and stories from the Community Shares Unit’s activities.

Co-operatives UK runs the Community Shares Unit with partners Locality and Plunkett Foundation. Collectively, it promotes best practice standards, and is a funder and institutional investor in community share offers. Co-operatives UK also oversees the training and licenseing of a growing network of practitioners, as well as being the primary source of community shares market intelligence. 

The small team works closely with partners and a network of community shares practitioners to help communities make the most of the unique form of finance that community share offer. 

In 2023, the Booster Fund was relaunched with new support from Access the Foundation for Social Investment to sit alongside existing support funded by Power to Change. Since then, there have been many inspiring stories of communities stepping forward to raise their own investment, often to save much-loved local spaces and places, or to invest in new community facilities.  

The support delivered by the Community Shares Unit through the Booster Fund really has helped more communities reach their investment goals and attract new private investment from members of their community.  

Some headline stats from the Impact Report 2023:

  • 80 different communities were supported on their journeys to raise community-based investment
  • 33 share offers achieved the community shares Standard Mark
  • 109 different communities applied to the Booster Fund seeking £5.24m in investment – the busiest year yet for the programme 
  • Matched equity investments by Co-operatives UK via the Booster Fund had an amazing impact and leverage – for each £1 invested, communities raised an additional £9.30

In 2023, the Booster Fund further developed tracking and reporting on diversity and reach statistics, which are covered in the report. The Booster Fund continues to enable less affluent communities to use community shares, with 50% of our investments going to the top 30% most deprived communities and 93% going to the top 70% most deprived.

With over £220m of community shares raised in the last decade, this patient and flexible form of finance is reaching new communities and business models. Is it filling a unique finance gap that loans and grants alone do not meet. Our ambition now is to help more communities raise the next £200m and we are openly approaching partners and stakeholders to help us realise these ambitions.  

Read the full Community Shares Impact Report 2023.

Community Shares Unit Impact Report
A retrospective of activities and achievements in 2023
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