What if communities owned the High Street? – Preston City Council

Date / 9th June 2021

Time / 2.00pm - 5.30pm

Location / Zoom

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What if communities owned the High Street?

Preston Cooperative Development Network in partnership with UCLan’s Centre for SME Development and Preston City Council invite you to join Alice Wharton from the Community Shares Unit, Jeff Scales from Locality and Kate Gilmartin from the Local Energy North West Hub and Ady Powell from Charge My Street to find out how communities are investing in their local areas and what inspiration we can draw from this in Preston.

Community share offers are becoming more and more popular. They provide communities with a way of raising funds to purchase buildings for community use or to invest in community projects like renewable energy generation and EV infrastructure.

Alice will explain how community shares work, bring us up to date with the community shares market in 2021 and describe match funding opportunities which can boost local investment, including the government’s Community Ownership Fund which goes live in June. She will introduce some recent successful share offers to indicate what’s possible when communities invest together.

Jeff, who is a qualified social enterprise advisor, Community Shares Practitioner, and Community-Led Housing Advisor, will provide further insight from his experience supporting community organisations, Local Authorities and others in property development and community asset transfer. Jeff will also introduce the Community Right to Bid and its role in assisting communities to acquire local assets.

The growing urgency of the climate crisis is driving the rapid evolution of renewable energy technologies and creating new opportunities for community investment in a ‘climate commons’. Kate will discuss her experience working with communities to assist them to scope, seed and develop community-owned, renewable energy assets including the role that the community shares in this process. Kate is a founder member of Greater Manchester Community Renewables and Community Energy England which was set up in 2014 to support the development of the community energy sector.

Ady Powell from Charge My Street, a local community benefit society that is leading the way on rolling out EV charging points in Lancashire, will describe how the investment raised with community shares is making this possible.

We hope that you are able to attend. If you have any queries, please contact the Centre at [email protected]

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