People Encouraged to Buy a Share in Their Communities

People Encouraged to Buy a Share in Their Communities

06 September 2013

The Building Change Trust and Co-Operative Alternatives are taking the next step in bringing community shares to Northern Ireland.

Co-Operative Alternatives, have been commissioned by the Trust to implement a Community Shares pilot project in Northern Ireland  and  will be hosting a series of workshops on how community shares have been employed to enhance the financial viability of projects across the UK, enabling community ownership.

The ‘Community Owned: Community Shared’ series of workshops will cover five themes reflective of some of the needs of communities in Northern Ireland, including community buildings and heritage, community rural shops, community supported agriculture, community owned energy and community sport and leisure.

The first of these workshops, looking at heritage and regeneration will be held on September 26th at Clifton House, Belfast at 11.00.

With the second, examining the village shop and the important role community shares can play in rural regeneration, taking place on October 10th at Gortalowry House, Cookstown at 10.30.

The third workshop will look at community-led food initiatives and will take place on 22nd October, with the details of the final two workshops to be announced at a later date.

All workshops will be an opportunity to share information and knowledge and question experts who have a firsthand experience of community share offers.

Since then, Co-operative Alternatives has been working with various enterprises, community development associations, local campaigners to discuss how community shares are a meaningful and democratic way to engage with a community who support and recognise the social value of an initiative.

Tiziana O’Hara from Co-Operative Alternatives, said: “Community Shares represent a new and exciting way for people within communities to invest in them. Communities can engage with an initiative by buying a share in it.

“I meet activists and campaigners who are concerned about the closure of community spaces, the decline of services and the uncertainty of jobs.

""Community Shares open up the possibility of community ownership and enables all of us, collectively, to support initiatives that carry the most social value to our community.

“These types of initiatives are becoming more and more popular across the UK. The regeneration of Hastings Pier, is the most high profile example of this type of community-led action”.

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.

“With this in mind, we are really excited to be working alongside Co-Operative Alternatives to bring a  Community Shares programme to 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”.