Our mission is


We're a community land trust with a mission "to provide sustainable affordable housing, and workspace for community enterprises, in Somerset; promoting co-operative principles and equality of opportunity for the benefit of the community.”
We place tenants at the heart of our governance structure, so that the land trust is always accountable to its intended beneficiaries. At the same time, any Somerset resident can join and have a say in how the society is run. Read 'About us' to find out more.

Community shares

Somerset Co-op CLT is now seeking community shares to build new, sustainable, affordable housing. We are keen to hear from anyone who might wish to invest, whether it is a large investment or very, very small (yes, you can still join for £1 if you live in Somerset - but if you invest £50 or more we pay a fair rate of interest, so you end up withdrawing more than you put in). 

Here's the important information that you need to know:
Funds sought by the closing date of October 14th 2020:
Minimum investment sought: £185,000
Optimum investment sought: £445,000
Maximum investment sought: £534,000
The board may choose to extend the closing date in order to secure the necessary funds. The offer will not be closed unless full planning permission for new housing units at 10 and 11A East Reach has been obtained. Please do not decide whether to invest without first reading these two documents:
Shares are ordinary, full risk and withdrawable (non-transferable) with two classes:
• Class 2 (local community). Anyone living or working in Somerset can join for £1; however, as interest is only credited in whole pounds, a share balance of at least £25 is needed to participate in the benefits of this share offer.
• Class 3 (social investor). Anyone investing at least £500 may apply, but some limits on participation apply to social investors in order to maintain local control of the society.
Maximum individual investment: £20,000 in this offer. In addition, the rules limit individual  nvestments in Somerset CCLT; individuals and companies may not have a direct interest in more than £50,000 of share capital.
Return on investment aimed for: 4.5% interest

Community shares are similar to the share offerings that profit-making companies stage in order to raise investment capital - but it is different in important ways.

First, the similarities. Share capital is the most 'at risk' form of investment: if things go wrong, people who have loaned money to the business, or are owed money by the business, will be repaid before holders of share capital are. In return, the shareholders usually have some rights of ownership - they get to have some say in how the business is run. In these respects, our shares are the same as any other business.

But there are some important differences. Company shares pay dividends - a share of the profits made by the business. We don't do that. If there is a profit, we need to devote it to our social mission. But we do recognise that our investors have been deprived of their capital, and so we pay interest on it by way of compensation. While that may vary according to how the business has thrived, we try to keep it steady and within reasonable limits. We are starting at 4% and aiming to build up to 7% - though our rules limit us to paying 'no more than is necessary to attract and retain investment'.

Another difference is voting rights. Unlike companies, the shareholding doesn't affect your power in an Annual General Meeting: one share gives you the same voice as £1000. And our rules particularly limit the role of members living outside the Somerset area. So people who don't have a strong stake in our work can't buy influence.

The last important difference is that community shares aren't bought and sold on a stock exchange. They are withdrawable shares - that means that investors can get their money back when they need it (within limits - if they all ask for it at once, we would have to impose some restrictions) rather than having to find a buyer. It also means you can't get rich by speculating on the future growth of the business. That may put some people off, but we're not running a casino here. It's better for everyone that we offer steady and predictable returns rather than windfalls and crashes.

When we have a new project to finance, we will publish an offer document (not a prospectus - that requires special authorisation) and invite people who share our aims and values to become shareholders. Hopefully they will find it offers double satisfaction - a prudent investment with modest but rewarding rates of interest, and a social intervention that helps the most vulnerable and builds a better future one house at a time.

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