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F.C United picked for community bond fundraising project

FC United picked for community bond fundraising project

Fans’ football club FC United of Manchester is one of five community-owned enterprises selected for a government-funded research project into community shares and bonds.

The successful projects will receive a package of funding and consultancy to help them raise more than £10,000 by selling securities to at least twenty people to finance community ventures.

Hugh Rolo, head of assets and investment at the Development Trusts Association (DTA), which is helping to deliver the project, said there was huge potential for using community investment to raise capital rather than increasing the level of debt and risk.

He added: “An increasing number of communities are finding that local people also like the direct proposition of investing in something they can see, touch and benefit from.”

The project is supported Office of the Third Sector’s Social Enterprise Action Learning Fund, the Department for Communities and Local Government is leading an action learning research programme in the field of community shares and bonds. The research programme is being delivered by the DTA and Co-operativesUK, in conjunction with the UK Social Return on Investment network (SROI).

The other four projects chosen are Cybermoor in Alston, Cumbria; Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust; Ashington Community Development Trust, Northumberland; and Slaithwaite Cooperative Ltd (Grocery store), Colne Valley, near Huddersfield.

Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-operativesUK, said: “Community investment is about community engagement and this is at the core of the co operative way of business as demonstrated by our members. For example, The Phone Co-op has 6,735 members who have over £1.6m in their share accounts and, in December 2008, local people in Settle in Yorkshire raised £100,000 through a share issue to build a mini hydro-electric scheme in their town. I think other communities will want to follow their example.”
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