Additional support and resources

Below outlines additional resources and other organisations that might be able to help you. 


Support and advice agencies and networks

Co-operatives UK is the national trade body which campaigns for co-operation and works to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses, which are worth more than £37 billion to the economy.

Co-operatives UK Advice team. From simple rule changes to director training to arbitration, we are experts in the co‑operative model. What we offer: governance and HR audits, governing document and policy document reviews, mediation services, registration services, training.

Co-operatives UK HR package provides high quality advice, support and guidance in HR policy, law, reward and benefits, joint procurement of other HR products and services, bringing forward-thinking members together to share innovations in best HR practice, benchmarking and communicating the benefits of working for a co-operative.

Co-operatives UK’s Directory – useful way to find local co-ops, or co-ops trading in particular sectors.

The Hive Support Providers. There are a number of preferred providers who offer one-to-one and group support for The Hive programme.

The Community Shares Unit works with partners to develop standards of good practice, encourage policy reforms and raise awareness to support the growth of community shares.

Community Shares Booster programme is a new initiative to support and stimulate public involvement with community share offers in England, particularly in more disadvantaged areas and sectors where community businesses are under-represented. Successful community groups could receive a business development support grant up to £10,000 in advance of launching their community share offer. After that, organisations can access up to £100,000 match funding in the form of an equity investment by Co-operatives UK when the share offer goes live.

Bright Ideas Fund aims to provide community groups with the support and tools to start setting up a community business. It will provide groups with early stage finance to carry out consultation with local people and feasibility studies to develop a community business idea the community wants and needs. A programme of support and grants of up to £15,000 is available. The programme is funded by Power to Change and delivered in partnership by Locality, Co-operatives UK and The Plunkett Foundation.

Plunkett Foundation helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them together. We support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives that help them tackle issues ranging from isolation and loneliness to poverty.

Wales Co-operative Centre are in the business of creating a better, fairer, more co-operative Wales. We apply our co-operative values to supporting social businesses, strengthening communities, tackling poverty and promoting inclusion.

Co-operative Development Scotland We support company growth in Scotland through co-ownership and collaborative business models. We offer advice to help you choose and implement the best co-operative business model for your organisation or community.

Locality is the leading nationwide network of development trusts, community enterprises, settlements and social action centres.

Community Energy England provides a voice for the community energy sector and helps create the conditions within which community energy can flourish.

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Raising finance, funding sources

Funding Central – this is a really useful website for anyone looking for funding, including loans and contracts. It allows you to search through all of the grants available on the site to find those most appropriate to your needs. The site also features a support and advice section to help you maximise your chances of getting funded. It is run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and is funded by the Office for Civil Society in the Cabinet Office.

Finding Finance – this website allows you to search for finance from Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) based on the amount that you would like to borrow and where you are in the country. The site is run by Responsible Finance, who is the membership body for local responsible finance providers.

The Directory for Social Change produce several pay to register search engines which provides access to a wide range of funders including trusts, government funds, company giving and grants for individuals.

Funding Information is an online pay-to-register website with a database of grants, contracts and loans from charitable trusts and foundations, Government, National Lottery, Europe and companies Funding is available to social enterprises; charities; voluntary and community organisations; social businesses; co-operatives/mutuals; un-constituted community groups.

Grants Online is a comprehensive funding information service. It provides information on grant funding opportunities from the European Union, UK Government Agencies, the Lottery as well as Grant making Trusts and Foundations.

J4bgrants is a free-to-register website with a database of European, UK Government and other sources of grant funding. The site is available to social enterprises; charities; voluntary and community organisations; social businesses; cooperatives/mutuals; unconstituted community groups.

Co-operative and Community Finance provide sympathetic loan finance to help people take control of their economic lives and create social benefit.

The National Lottery Community Fund provides grants to organisations from £300 to more than £500,000 to community and voluntary groups and charities. They make available information to identify the most suitable funding programme for different types of projects.

Awards for All gives groups a quick and easy way to get small Lottery grants of between £300 and £10,000. They want to fund projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people.

MyCommunity. The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is supporting a number of other programmes to help communities take control over their Land & Buildings, Local Services, Neighbourhood Planning through the Community Rights, grants, expert advice and networking.

Power to Change is the largest trust of its kind in Europe and provides funding and support to existing and new community businesses. It is currently funding a number of programmes across England as well as the Community Business Fund grants programme.

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. Their aim is to improve the quality of life for people and communities in the UK both now and in the future.

The Ernest Cook Trust gives grants to registered charities, schools and not for profit organisations wishing to encourage young people’s interest in the country, the environment, the arts, or aiming to raise levels of literacy and numeracy.

Nesta is a global innovation foundation which aims to tackle the big challenges of our time, from the pressures of an ageing population to stretched public services and a fast changing jobs market.

The Reach Fund is a grant programme that helps charities and social enterprises raise investment. The programme is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and is open to organisations in England.

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Community energy

Next Generation programme is a £1m+ fund and expert support programme, created by Power to Change to pioneer innovative community-led energy projects and business models. Grants of up to £100,000 will be available to community businesses to develop decentralised, decarbonised, and democratised energy business models.

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Sport, arts, heritage and pubs

For heritage building projects, investigate the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Heritage Lottery Fund provides grants to help sustain the country’s heritage – from museums and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions.

Sport England focuses investment on organisations and projects that will grow and sustain participation in grassroots sports, create opportunities for young people to excel in sport and support local authorities to unlock local funding.

The Football Foundation provides grants and funding, to deliver programmes for new and improved community sports facilities in towns and cities across the country.

The Arts Council England is the national development agency for the arts in England, distributing public money from the Government and the National Lottery.

More than a pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme is a unique three year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in both rural and urban communities in England and grow the range of services they offer to help local people. Its value is £3.85 million and is jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Power to Change.

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Community Led Homes, a new partnership run by four leading community-led organisations: Confederation of Co- operative Housing, Locality, National Community Land Trust Network, and UK Cohousing is o ering three new funding streams. 

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The Hive website

Community Shares Handbook (PDF version):

Community Shares Step-by-Step is an online tool that enables you to work towards launching a community share offer. It is designed to help anyone considering raising community shares at any stage of development, from those investigating the idea for the very first time, to those who are on the verge of issuing an offer.

The Community Shares Standard Mark is awarded by the Community Shares Unit to offers that meet national standards of good practice. CS Standard Mark information pack.

The Hive feasibility / testing your idea tools. This guide is designed to help bring more wholefood co-operatives into the world by spreading the business model tried and tested by Unicorn Grocery Worker Co-operative since 1996. Whether starting a new food shop or expanding an existing co-operative, you may choose to follow this model completely or utilise elements of our experience.

The Community Energy Hub aims to provide a single point of access for information on community energy across the internet, helping people to easily find the information they need when they need it.