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A collaboration between Co-operatives UK, Power to Change and the Mayor of London
Boosting community business London – application guidance

What are community shares?

What are community shares?

  • Community shares are a great way for communities to pull together and take ownership of local assets or develop new projects or services for community benefit. Since 2012, £155 million has been raised by 104,203 people supporting more than 440 vital businesses – an impressive 92% of which are still trading.
  • Community shares are non‑transferrable, withdrawable share capital that provide community businesses much needed money to start, grow, and be sustainable. 
  • Community shares can save local shops and pubs, finance renewable energy schemes, transform community facilities, support local food growing, fund new football clubs, restore heritage buildings, and above all, build stronger, more vibrant, and independent communities. 
  • This type of share capital can only be issued by co‑operative societies, community benefit societies and charitable community benefit societies. 
  • Community shares are not like ordinary shares. They cannot be sold or transferred to someone else. Instead, the society allows shareholders to withdraw their money (share capital), subject to terms and conditions that protect the society’s financial security.
  • Shareholders have only one vote, regardless of the size of their shareholding, so the society is democratic. 
  • Community shares give local people a real stake in ownership of the local community business, as well as providing the community business with critical unrestricted funding.

Find out more about community shares.