Rory Stewart supports community shares event

Rory  highlighted the importance of  encouraging Cumbrian social enterprises and co-operatives to raise money using community shares  at a free event which took place on Wednesday 28th March at the Penrith Players Theatre.

The day-long event was  organised by Alston-based broadband co-operative Cybermoor, which itself raised £10k in four weeks via community shares to upgrade internet services in Alston Moor. Cybermoor aimed to secure another £90k by 31 March.

Event participants gained practical advice on how to set up a community share offer and drive take-up, the pitfalls to avoid and the administration involved. Social entrepreneurs who have successfully raised finance this way shared their experiences.

Rory said: “Cumbria is at the national vanguard of social enterprise, boasting incredible community share schemes, many of which are right here in Penrith and the Border:  the Old Crown at Hesket Newmarket, the Nenthead Community Shop, and the Butcher’s Arms at Crosby Ravensworth to name some of the more prominent ones. Communities should be encouraged to invest in themselves. We are perfectly suited to these sorts of schemes, and I encourage all interested communities to attend this important event.”

Daniel Heery, Project Manager at Cybermoor Networks said: “Community share schemes are popular in Cumbria because of the challenges involved in making rural businesses succeed. Conventional companies can struggle to generate enough income and investment due to the region’s sparse population. Alternative finance schemes such as community share offers spread the investment and the risk across the community, helping rural businesses to survive.”

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