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Community Bonds: Creating ‘Citizen Investors’ across Scotland’s communities.

Posted May 3rd 2018 by Ciara

Community Bonds are a new initiative that allows people to pool their financial resources into a community loan fund which will then benefit local, social and community enterprises. Outside the Box has made a small investment in the bonds.  We think this approach gives another option for the types of groups we are working alongside. Here is a blog from SCF about it:

All communities need access to products and services to be viable, vibrant, sustainable and enjoyable places to live and work. However, with the closures of shops and stores and the withdrawal or downgrading of many public services, the need for community intervention is becoming essential to preserve community life.

From communities who are buying their islands, so they can attract or retain young families and create jobs; to communities that are buying their post offices or local shops to keep services and products available at the local level, increasingly communities are doing it for themselves.

People are coming together and establishing community businesses and social enterprises to provide goods and services, often where there is market failure. These enterprises often become the life blood of communities, providing the necessary support, services and products that allow communities to thrive.

Yet, many of these community businesses find it difficult to get access to affordable micro loans to allow them to develop, grow and trade. So, they struggle to meet the changing needs of communities and are stunted in their aspirations to create thriving communities. People do not have to passively accept this situation and they can play a role by becoming investors in their own communities.

Many people already contribute to their communities; volunteering their time with charitable organisations or donating goods in kind to food banks and charity shops. However, becoming a community investor would involve ordinary people investing a small sum of money in local community businesses with the expectation of receiving not only a financial return, but also seeing a social return to their communities and local economies.

Community Bonds allows people to do that by pooling their financial resources into a community loan fund and lending that out to local, social and community enterprises – helping them and the community to become more sustainable.

SCF’s has already embarked on a community bond offer aims to raise investment for Scotland’s social enterprise community. Aimed primarily at people and organisations within the third sector, the bond offer is open until the 7th of May. The bond pays 2 % and offers an opportunity to invest from £50. The accompanying loan fund will be open to social and community enterprises working across Scotland to tackle issues such as homelessness, unemployment, social isolation and a lack of child/social care services.

For more details about Community Bonds go to www.scotcomfinance.scot; contact SCF on 07934 690429 or email info@scotcomfinance.scot.

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