The coalition agreement published on 20 May 2010 outlined plans to promote devolution and give communities greater powers to shape local developments and local services. A range of ‘community rights’ were subsequently enshrined in law by the Localism Act which was given Royal Assent on 15 November 2011.
Residents become part-owners, supporters, volunteers and advocates for businesses that provide goods and services to meet local needs and get a return on their investment. The projects get funding to help them become financially sustainable.
The Community Shares Unit (CSU) was established in 2012, delivered by Co-operatives UK and Locality, providing information and support to businesses looking to raise money through a community share offer and residents considering purchasing shares. The unit is supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
In March 2016, the government published an interactive map showing the location of Community Shares projects.
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