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Co-operatives UK and Crowdfunder join forces to launch ‘go green’ fund for community businesses

News item

24th April 2024
Last updated
2nd May 2024
Community shares
Promotional banner featuring a group of wind turbines on a green hillside with the text 'new funding alert! get match funding towards your community share issue.'

Co-operative and community benefit societies can apply for grant funding to match community shares investment for measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Co‑operatives UK is proud to announce it is working with Crowdfunder to administer a new fund that supports community businesses to invest in greener ways of operating. 

The £250,000 Energy Efficiency Sharematch fund supports co-operative and community benefit societies in England to raise capital via community shares to pay for measures that reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.

These measures can include the installation of solar panels, heat pumps, insulation, LED lighting, double glazing and draft proofing, etc – as well as the purchase of energy efficient equipment and transport.  

The fund will provide grant funding to match money raised from community investors. It is provided by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment using funds from the Dormant Assets Scheme, which redirects money from forgotten accounts to good causes. 

John Dawson, Head of Market Development for the Community Shares Unit at Co‑operatives UK, said: “We’re proud to be working with Crowdfunder and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment to support communities in England to reduce their carbon footprint. 

”With the climate crisis and high fuel costs, community businesses are seeking ways to decarbonise their operations and reduce spending – through using efficient vehicles and equipment, insulating their premises or installing new energy saving technologies.

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“Community shares offer a more affordable way to invest in ‘going green’ than traditional loan finance. They also offer an opportunity to engage the local community in the climate crisis.”
– John Dawson, Head of Market Development for the Community Shares Unit at Co‑operatives UK

Jason Nuttall, Programme Director at Crowdfunder said: “With the launch of this new fund we’re interested to see how community owned businesses can use community shares to provide affordable finance to help them become more sustainable. 

“Many community owned businesses are open for long hours and based in older buildings with high energy needs. Energy bills are having a massive impact on profitability, so this funds aims to support organisations to undertake measures to become more energy efficient, cutting fuel bills and helping long term sustainability.” 

Applicants must be a suitable legal structure (co-operative society, community benefit society or charitable community benefit society) and need to use the Crowdfunder platform to run their share offer before March 2025. 

Organisations raising investment in community shares for a wider project could be eligible for any energy efficiency measures being installed.  

Find out more about Energy Efficiency Sharematch or, if you know you are eligible, complete the Expression of Interest form.

Thinking of applying to the Energy Efficiency Sharematch fund?
Register your interest online here.
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