Community Share Booster Programme

Status: Open to applications    Application Deadline:  31st December 2020


Development grants and/or equity match is available for new and existing community businesses, with charitable purposes, that are based in England and are planning to make, or have recently launched, community share offers.


Fund Value: £ 3,000,000

Maximum Value: £ 10,000

Value Notes

The programme offers the following:

  • Development grants of up to £10,000 are targeted at community businesses requiring support to prepare their community share offers and need support to get investment ready (obtain the Community Shares Standard Mark).
  • Equity match of up to £100,000 for societies that are investment ready, including those that have already launched their share offers. The terms can be found in the guidance notes.

The award of development grants and equity match are two separate decisions; the award of a development grant does not mean that applicants will be successful in their application for equity match. 

The programme is expected to match fund around 60 share offers in the first three years of the programme (to 2020) and then provide active investor support to societies on a continuing basis.


Extended Description

The £3 million Booster Programme, which is expected to run over a five year period (2017-2022), is provided by Power to Change and run by the Community Shares Unit, a joint initiative between Co-operatives UK and Locality.

The programme's objectives are to help disadvantaged and under-represented communities develop successful community businesses, especially in under-represented trade sectors, and financed through community share offers based on new forms of investment proposition, institutional support, and business appraisal methodologies.

It aims to support local groups across England that want to set up or grow a community business to overcome three critical challenges when seeking to raise finance through a community share offer:

  • Communities are unable to launch a share offer due to perceived and real constraints at the development stage.
  • Communities, especially more disadvantaged groups, face a series of challenges during the share offer which prevents them meeting their targets or proceed with the venture due to external factors.
  • Communities develop and launch their share offer having not adopted good practice guidance, leading to growing levels of poor practice which may in turn weaken consumer confidence, threatening the community shares market as a whole.


Latest Information:

Expressions of interest can be submitted at any time until December 2020.

Key Criteria


The programme is aimed at new and existing community businesses. It is not suitable for newly formed community groups that are in the early stages of developing a community business proposal.

To be eligible, applicants must be:

  • Based in England.
  • An emerging or existing community business.
  • Able to address an identifiable charitable purpose.

Power to Change defines community business as having the following four key features:

  • Locally rooted.
  • Operating for the benefit of the community with broad community impact.
  • Accountable to the local community.
  • With trading at the heart of its business, for the benefit of the local community.

Eligible Expenditure

To be eligible, applicants must identify which of these charitable purposes are addressed by their community business, and what they do of public benefit in each area they identify:

  • The prevention or relief of poverty.
  • The advancement of education.
  • The advancement of citizenship or community development.
  • The advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science.
  • The advancement of amateur sport.
  • The promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity.
  • The advancement of environmental protection or improvement.
  • The relief of those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-heath, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage.

Match Funding Restrictions:

Full details of match funding can be found in their guidance notes.


The following are not eligible:

  • Newly formed community groups that are in the early stages of developing a community business proposal.
  • Groups outside of England.

Payment Procedure

Development grants will be paid in two tranches:

  • First payment - Business development and community engagement costs: Costs associated with developing the business plan, governance, drafting offer documentation and undertaking community engagement.
  • Second payment – Standard Mark and share offer campaign costs: Costs associated with the Standard Mark assessment and promotional spend for the share offer campaign itself. 

Application Procedure

There is a two-stage application process:

  • The first stage is to complete the online expression of interest. Notification of decisions is made within two weeks for those who are eligible. At this point, applicants will be told which of the three Pathways they should apply for.
  • Those who are successful will be invited to fill out a full online application.

Guidance notes can be found on the Power to Change website and these should be read first.

Contact Locality for further information.

Addresses & Contacts:

Application forms may be available to download on this site - please see the downloadable files on the right hand panel at the top of this page - or alternatively please check the funding body’s own website.

Contact details:
Locality - My Community 
33 Corsham Street 
N1 6DR
0300 020 1864