Community business sector sees steady growth

Community businesses and community shares are growing steadily, according to data collected for Civil Society News by Power to Change, the Big Lottery Fund endowment set up to support the community sector. Data from the Community Shares Unit shows that in 2015, the last year for which there are complete records, £38m was raised through community share issues - up from £23m the previous year. Since 2009, the earliest year when there were a significant number of deals, £118m has been reported as being raised through community shares.

A community share involves members of the community investing small amounts to develop a community project such as a shop, pub of community energy scheme. It is usually done through an industrial and provident society or community benefit society, and many schemes are charities, although they are exempt from registration with the Charity Commission.

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