Morven Campbell, Programme Officer at Community Shares Scotland, tells us all about Community Shares and how they could help you raise funds and engage the community in your creative activity.

What are Community Shares? The sale of shares in enterprises which serve a community purpose. So, just as with ordinary shares, people invest in an organisation, building or initiative that meet a local need. 

Watch our animation for a nifty explanation of community shares and how they work: 

How do shareholders get involved? Each community shareholder has an equal say in major decisions, irrespective of the size of their shareholding. But investment should be seen as primarily for social return – financial return on investment is not a guarantee and if it comes, is modest.

Can shareholders sell their shares? No, community shares cannot increase in value or be sold on to anyone else. However they can be withdrawn within the rules of the society.

What type of activity can Community Shares help fund? Community Shares can be used to fund any enterprise that:

  • benefits and engages a community (either geographical or of interest / purpose)
  • has a viable business proposition at its heart 

To date, community shares have been used to finance: 

  • shops and pubs
  • community hubs
  • arts, media or creative enterprises
  • renewable energy initiatives
  • heritage projects
  • sport initiatives
  • a host of other community based ventures

Who is eligible to use Community Shares? Groups who register as either a Community Benefit Society or a Bona Fide Cooperative. They should also evidence a viable business plan and a community engagement strategy. 

Unity Works in WakefieldHave creative groups benefitted from using Community Shares? Yes, many – here are two examples: 

The Pink Lane Jazz Co-op in Newcastle used community shares to support the rehearsal, performance and promotion of jazz, poetry and dance, and became the first community cooperative in the UK to own a music venue and education centre.

Unity Works in Wakefield gave a listed building a new lease of life using community shares, transforming it into a multi-purpose arts and music venue. 

How can people find out more? Visit or contact us on 0131 220 3777.