Trust Supports Launch of Community Shares Project
The Trust's Nigel McKinney (left) with Down to Earth's Gill McNeill and Greg Sachno.

Trust Supports Launch of Community Shares Project

27 January 2015

Down to Earth NI, a new community-led, environmentally aware burial project recently launched what is hoped will become Northern Ireland’s first woodland burial site in County Down.

Support for the development of Down to Earth NI and the issue of the share offer has come from the Building Change Trust through Cooperative Alternatives as part of a 3 year project to support the development of community benefit societies in Northern Ireland raising money through community share offers.

The Community Benefit Society aims to raise £40,000 to fund planning, site preparation and initial running costs. Minimum share investment starts at £800 with an asset lock providing security for any funds invested.

Rising demand for burials in Northern Ireland, limited space and the unavailability of pre-purchased burial plots in most areas make the advance plot purchase with Down to Earth NI more convenient. Although a new concept in Northern Ireland, there are currently some 270 sites across the rest of the UK and one in the ROI.

Chair of Down to Earth NI, James Orr, said: “We are inviting people to join us as investing members. During 2014, over 200 people expressed interest or pledged their investment.

"We want to raise our start up finance only from members and supporters in line with the ethos of the Society. Down to Earth NI will be owned by the community for the community and importantly, is for all faiths and those with no faith. Everyone is welcome".

Trees of remembrance will be planted for those who desire a quiet, contemplative place to remember a loved one who perhaps died in a past war or is buried elsewhere.

Nigel McKinney, Building Change Trust, Director of Operations, said: “The Building Change Trust is committed to developing and testing out new forms of Social Finance and encouraging Social Innovation in Northern Ireland.

 “Seeing the success in the rest of the UK, we feel this type of community buy-in and investment could really take off and are excited to see the development of the Community Shares project throughout 2015”.