Community spaces are everybody’s business

Thursday 17 May 2018

  • Please note, this fund is temporarily paused. Follow our blog to find out first when we re-open for applications.

We’re offering interest-free loans for enterprising ideas to improve community spaces.

Places and spaces for people to come together and enjoy shared interests are vitally important for building stronger communities.

Venues such as parks and community centres need regular income so they can continue to meet the needs of people who use them, love them, and rely on them for local services and social contact.

If your community organisation is thinking about growing its trading activities to generate more sustainable income, we might be able to help your plans take off.

The Co-op Foundation can offer:

    • Interest-free loans of up to £50,000 towards viable business ideas that will benefit the whole community – particularly those facing greater challenges.
    • No repayments for the first year, while your trading activities are developing
  • If you are based in a more deprived area, or your work mainly benefits more disadvantaged members of the community, we might also be able to offer some grant funding alongside a loan.

Is this funding right for you?

    • Is your organisation run for the benefit of the community, rather than for private profit?
    • Do you own or manage a building or outdoor space that’s used for a wide range of community activities?
    • Do you involve a wide range of local people in your work, including more disadvantaged members of the community?
    • Do you have realistic plans to develop trading activities that will grow your long-term income?
  • Are you prepared to take on a loan that will need to be repaid?

If you think that this funding could help your community organisation to become more sustainable, you can fill out an expression of interest here. If you have any questions about this funding, you can get in touch with us at  

Shaped by Co-op Members

The Co-op Foundation designed this fund with input from more than 1,000 Co-op Members across the UK, and in consultation with other organisations that support community enterprises. You can read more about this process, and the investments we made during our pilot phase, here on the Co-op’s blog.  

Image credit: Heeley Trust

We are a listed investor on Good Finance, a website to help social enterprises and charities better navigate social investment

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