Community shares can fund sports clubs, build new facilities and above all, build stronger, more vibrant, and independent communities.
Sports clubs and community groups need money to grow, in particular, to build better facilities to generate more money. The problem is that clubs are limited in what cash they can raise from fundraising, donations, loans or grants. Too many of us know that relying on loans from individuals or companies can be very risky for the club. Enter community shares.
Community shares are a way of raising finance by offering shares, but in a secure, co-operative legal form. As opposed to ordinary shares in ordinary companies, they seek investment from people that are most interested in the long term success of the Club as a community asset – with the added bonus that it is cost effective way that avoids the red tape that a private Company would face. By giving your supporters and community the chance to invest in the Club it strengthens their connection with it, and as we have seen with FC United it can open you up to significant grant funding opportunities.
It’s the same model that helped Portsmouth supporters take control of their club, Supporter Owned Wrexham build a new shop and offices at the Racecourse Ground, and FC United of Manchester raise almost £2 million towards a new facility in Moston that will cost about £5.5 million. Outside of sport, more than 300 pubs and small shops which are now owned by their customers, many relying on community shares to raise the finance.
The guidance prepared with the support of the Community Shares Unit explains in more detail what community shares are, how they fit and what the benefits are over other finance raising options. It also gives practical advice on the steps required to buy a club using community shares and engage with the community to get the best out of an offer.