COMMUNITY SHARES SCOTLAND – ASK THE EXPERTS!
Experts in community shares, Kelly McIntyre and Morven Campbell, Community Shares Scotland (CSS) are working on a concerted 3 year plan to engage with communities across Scotland and develop skills and knowledge around community shares. This autumn they took their highly successful roadshow to Leverburgh in Harris and are now meeting community project leaders, social enterprise networks and interested groups to promote their expertise more widely.
The CSS three-year programme involves a range of awareness raising and training activities, setting up information services and providing direct support to communities and groups interested in launching their own community share offer.
Evidence of the impact the CSS team has made already, has come through in two new community share options they have been in instrumental in supporting – renewable energy projects at Urras Energy Society Ltd, South Galson on Lewis and Sunart Community Renewables, Strontian, Lochaber with more notes of interest coming through as a result from the Western Isles.
As well as advising on individual projects, the CSS team get involved in other services such as offering practitioner training for people at the heart of their communities who can give more on the spot support and leadership. In addition they highlight the benefits of the Microgenius website which acts as a dedicated platform for community shares for societies and supporters alike.
Kelly McIntyre, who is spearheading the project said: “We have recognised a new wave of entrepreneurship across Scotland and that community shares can trigger new projects and underpin some long-awaited community project. As people become more confident about how community shares work, we predict a significant take-up in training and practice in the coming years.”
Ms McIntyre added “This method of funding local businesses has already made a real impact across England and by using their first-hand experience, we can see this widen out to even more diverse applications across Scotland. Around 16 new community projects have made approaches to date, recognising the potential in their communities to take forward the community shares model including renewable energy projects, community buy-outs of local swimming pools and community health initiatives. Local people buying local shares to fund community businesses can only be a positive thing and we are really keen people seek out our expertise.”