Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society has been actively involved in Co-op Loan Fund since 2010 and is a member-owned, entirely independent, co-op society operating across mid-Essex since 1867.
They currently have 40 food stores, 2 department stores, 2 travel agents and 9 funeral homes; with their co-operative values and principles, environmental credentials and community work at the heart of everything they do.
Their co-ops are purpose-built to support the neighbourhoods and communities in which they operate through investment, grants, donations, volunteering, gifts, or supplying whatever a group needs to be able to support others.
You can keep up with the fantastic work Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society are doing throughout their co-ops and the communities they serve by visiting their website. We are proud to have Chelmsford Star as a funder, fellow co-operator, and supporter.
Making a donation
Co-op Loan Fund welcomes donations from any co-operative that wants to support the work of the fund. Co-operatives that make donations of over £50,000 may appoint a representative to the board if they wish. Co-operatives making small donations will also benefit from publicity. If you wish to discuss making a donation please contact us today.
We are incredibly proud to be a co-op and during #CoopFortnight we’ll be joining Co-operatives UK in celebrating UK #coops and showing how together we can offer an altogether different way of doing business.
By supporting co-ops, people are supporting their local community, collective action and shared ownership in the face of adversity and tough economic times.
Throughout Co-op Fortnight we’ve been highlighting the fantastic co-operative sectors that we support and the brilliant work they do locally, nationally and internationally.
Co-op Loan Fund brings together the UK’s biggest and smallest co-op businesses in a practical demonstration of the principle of co-operation among co-operatives. It provides unique lending, from co-ops to co-ops. The endowments made years ago by The Co-op Group, Co-op Midcounties, East of England Co-operative Society and Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society have been lent and repaid and lent again so that over £5m has been used to support over 200 co-ops creating an altogether different route to ethical, accessible loan finance.
To find out more about what we do and the co-ops we support watch our latest video or visit our website.
An historic village inn frequented by two of the most famous English landscape painters and now owned by its residents receives long-term finance boost.
With an inn on its site going back all the way to 1305, The Lamarsh Lion Community Pub commands a superb view over the River Stour much loved and sketched by the renowned landscape artists Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. On the Essex/Suffolk border about 10 miles northwest of Colchester, Lamarsh is a small village of around 180 residents who since 2017 have owned their community pub after it was put up for sale the year before.
Along with a successful community share issue, a grant from the ‘More Than a Pub’ legacy scheme, a loan from Co-operative & Community Finance, and a private loan; the community were able to proceed with the purchase of the pub and begin refurbishments from July 2017. Since then, repairs and renewals to guttering, roof tiling, chimney stacks, windows and doors as well as refitting and reequipping the trade kitchen, timber frame, damp issues and drainage have all been undertaken and completed.
Co-op Loan Fund along with Co-operative & Community Finance were pleased to help secure additional finance for the pub as it continues to develop and grow as a vital community asset. Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “We are delighted to be able to support for The Lamarsh Lion. Our long-term finance was able to support the needs of the group. This type of finance was not available through other lenders. Rising energy prices have a created tough trading conditions, however with impressive leadership in place and a debt structure which supports the business, the outlook has significantly improved for the group.”
With a committee that offers a broad range of skills and experience, The Lamarsh Lion has built up a reputation as a place to eat and drink for families in the local area and has been doing well with theme nights and community focused activities. With residents also utilising the pub regularly for family parties, The Lamarsh Lion are truly establishing themselves as a family friendly affordable venue in the region.
Ruth Allison, Treasurer at The Lamarsh Lion Community Pub Ltd said: “Getting this further investment from Co-operative & Community Finance and Co-op Loan Fund has really been a boost to our group. The challenges of running a community business in the current economic environment are complex and persistent. Having a supportive lender who knows what you are going through, understands and is willing to help is much needed and appreciated. It is a refreshing approach to accessing community finance.”
Hospitality co-ops have shown incredible resilience in recent years doing the right thing by their communities through diversifying services and supporting staff, members, and customers. Co-op Loan Fund continues to provide crucial guidance, advice and supportive loan finance to the co-operative hospitality sector aiming to create new opportunities for local involvement in community business up and down the country.
You can find out more about The Lamarsh Lion by visiting their website.
A worker co-op accountancy firm are putting principles into practice with accounting services rooted in co-operative values and sociocratic working models.
Working primarily within the co-operative and not-for-profit sector Third Sector Accountancy are a workers’ co-op based in Manchester but with staff located across the country and Germany. A co-operative of 20 members and close to 400 clients, the accountancy firm promotes a vision where ‘compassion, cooperation and autonomy are the guiding principles, rather than greed and competition.’
Third Sector Accountancy work on a model of sociocracy meaning the co-operative can organise in a decentralised way making decisions with equity, empowerment, trust and transparency. They are also committed to providing training and sharing experience and expertise to promote growth within the co-operative movement.
Scott Lockwood, Chartered Accountant and Third Sector Accountancy co-op member said: “Over the past 6 years we have grown significantly. This success is down to a range of factors, including our unique structure, specialist knowledge, our experienced and friendly team, and the high standards of our work.”
Co-op Loan Fund has provided a loan to Third Sector Accountancy to help with working capital as the worker co-op continues to grow and expand their client base. Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “The Co-op Loan Fund is designed to support co-operative development in the sector. This loan is a great example of sector support. Not only are we supporting an individual co-op we are supporting the many co-operative organisations which use Third Sector Accountancy. We are delighted to be working with Third Sector.”
Although only formed as a workers’ co-op in 2017, Third Sector Accountancy has a wealth of experience in their team with extensive knowledge of the co-operative movement, charities and the third sector more generally.
Scott Lockwood continued to say: “One of our greatest successes and advantages of being a workers’ co-operative is that we have not had to rely on external borrowing to fund such rapid early growth. However, as the composition of the co-op has changed entering a new and more controlled growth stage, we recognised the importance of obtaining external borrowings. Co-op Loan Fund was the obvious choice for funding due to their structure as a co-operative, their shared vision in promoting the co-operative sector and their open and transparent investment policies.”
Co-op Loan Fund recognises the importance of co-operatives within the financial sector and aims to reduce the barriers they can often be faced with including access to capital, a lack of public awareness due to competition with bigger for-profit firms, as well as the ability and resources required to adapt to an increasingly digital economy. Visit loanfund.coop to find out more about our services and the co-operatives we work with.
You can keep up to date with Third Sector Accountancy by visiting their website.
A co-operative craft brewery has expanded its retail operation by opening a new taproom creating jobs and positive impact for the local community.
Since its inception in 2015, production at Belfast-based Boundary Brewing Co-operative has increased rapidly as demand for its high quality craft beers has boomed. Over the years the brewery has expanded its premises, installed a canning line and increased production capacity by investing in three 2,000L fermenters using previous loan finance support from Co-op Loan Fund in 2019.
After seven successful years building its bold creative brand and establishing a reputation with impressive wholesale and online sales, Boundary Brewing is looking to diversify its operations by opening a new taproom (the first ever to open in Northern Ireland) and taking on the leasehold management of a busy city centre pub.
A loan and support from Co-op Loan Fund along with a successful record breaking community share offer has contributed to the funding of the new taproom situated next door to the brewery. Prior to the pandemic and lockdown, the taproom was used for successful pop-up nights held twice a month; but will now trade Wednesday to Sunday employing a team of staff creating local jobs and economic benefit for the area.
In a post on social media Boundary says the taproom offers “20 taps. Enormous fridges full of cans and Belgian beer. Awesome wine list. It’s beautiful, warm, comfortable and inviting.” Visits to the brewery will also be available to Taproom customers.
With over 2,000 co-operative members and enthusiastic involvement from the community, the Taproom will also serve as a local hub where it offers a meeting place for clubs, groups and community organisations and more once the taproom is fully underway.
Through a local business partnership Boundary Brewing has also taken on the leasehold management of a busy city centre pub to further expand the brewery’s commercial and retail operation. The advantage of the pub’s prime location and closeness to a major 15,000 students’ campus development by Ulster University means profits and operating income will create growth for the Brewery as well as investment into social and community objectives.
Matthew Dick, Founder & Managing Director of Boundary Brewing said: “The Coop Loan Fund has been a key partner in the development of Boundary Brewing. They have supported us at a critical point in our growth. We have been able to blend debt and equity because of this support, which has been crucial over the past four years.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager of Co-operative & Community Finance which manages Co-op Loan Fund, said: “It is brilliant to see the Boundary Taproom open. The development has been amazing, it’s a story of enterprise, entrepreneurialism and community business. I hope this model of growth can be replicated by many more co-operatives.”
With 4 year-round core beers and a range of limited-edition special beers (of which about 10 are available at any one time), the Brewery’s distinctive creative branding featuring original abstract paintings by Belfast artist John Robinson means Boundary cans are fast becoming collectable items. Visit their website to keep up to date with their latest plans and newest beers.
Leaseholders of Glenkerry House have secured funds for a series of works required to maintain iconic ‘brutalist’ building in East London.
A Grade II listed building, Glenkerry House situated in Poplar within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was designed by celebrated modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger (the inspiration for the name of a villain in Ian Fleming’s James Bond books) with the purpose of providing access to co-operative housing schemes to communities in the Greater London area. Completed in 1977, Glenkerry House was established as a Community Leasehold Housing Co-operative by the Greater London Secondary Housing Association and by 1980 was handed over to an elected Management Committee of residents.
Fast forward to 2022 and residents, alongside Lamberts Chartered Surveyors, have outlined a series of property improvements based on an assessment of the communal maintenance needs of the building. Works, consisting of the external redecoration of the thirteen-storey block, together with sundry repairs to timber, concrete, and subsidiary roofs, commenced in July 2022 following delays to the plans due to pandemic restrictions.
Membership of Glenkerry Co-operative Housing Association is automatically given to property leaseholders with an understanding and commitment to co-operative values and ownership being part of the application criteria.
In a joint statement Matt Beannie, Secretary and Kieran Crilly, Treasurer of Glenkerry Co-operative Housing Association said: “The value of these loans to the Association has been the commencement of much needed and welcomed improvements to our home, that ensures the continued sustainability of our unique housing model, and the revitalisation of an iconic piece of Brutalist architecture.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “We are delighted to be able to support Glenkerry Housing Co-operative. Housing Co-operatives offer an excellent opportunity to meet the affordable housing need in the UK. However, the sector is massively under resourced. Helping Co-operatives prove the model works is vitality important. London’s lack of affordable housing is well known. Our finance amount tends to be small however catalytic in nature.”
Find out more about Glenkerry Co-operative Housing Association by visiting their website.
Residents of Kingsley Holt have come together to save and repurpose their local chapel as a thriving community centre providing an essential meeting space, shop and café for the area.
Situated in the Staffordshire Moorlands just a few miles away from Cheadle, the village of Kingsley Holt has had to rely on its neighboring market town for local amenities in recent years after closure of the village’s last shop.
As well as a place of worship, Kingsley Holt Chapel has been an important community meeting space hosting all kinds of events, carnivals, Christmas fairs and carol services since its opening in 1937. Originally managed by the Methodist Church, the Chapel was closed for regular worship in June 2019 due to a dwindling congregation. Church trustees wanted to find a “new energy and vision” for the building and approached residents to help find alternative uses for the Chapel and retain it as a community asset. In response to this the local community had rallied together around the village’s 85 year old chapel to protect and retain it as a thriving community space.
From then on, the community came together to help manage the centre activities and hire the venue out for events and meetings. After being informed in May 2021 by Methodist Trustees that the Chapel was to be sold, locals decided that the building was far too important and valuable to the village to let go and applied to the local council to register and protect it as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), listing was granted on the 9th Aug 2021. Soon after Kingsley Holt Centre Limited was registered as a Community Benefit Society and locals began to plan the purchase of the building.
Securing loans from Co-operative & Community Finance and Co-op Loan Fund (managed by CCF) along with a community share offer with investment from over 120 members; the committee has been able to purchase the building completing on the 5th September 2022 and are now busy putting in place exciting plans to change the internal layout creating a new meeting space to increase capacity and convert an existing domestic kitchen into a new shop and café area.
Martin Wheeler, Chair of Kingsley Holt Centre Limited said: “When we first started on this project, we had to do an amazing amount of research. We visited other groups for advice and on one of these visits CCF was recommended to us. From the very first contact it was evident that this was an invaluable recommendation. Kevin worked very closely with us on this project from first contact providing advice, information access to funding in addition to loans. We are very excited about this project and it’s very reassuring to know we will have the expertise of CCF working alongside us going forward.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “Kingsley Holt is a great story of a community overcoming significant challenges to secure a community asset. Martin and the group have been amazing, and really battled through to make this happen. This really does give hope to community groups looking to secure community assets.”
You can keep up to date with Kingsley Holt Centre by visiting their website.
A worker co-operative specialising in civic tech and extended reality (XR) are creating next generation software to enhance human potential in a sustainable way.
London based tech co-op Animorph specialise in delivering user-centric and context-specific software applications aimed at addressing people’s unmet needs, whether that’s improving the attention of brain injury survivors, or helping bring communities together towards a shared goal.
The co-op’s main services include web, mobile phone, and augmented and virtual reality apps, spanning medical, training and community development sectors.
Co-op Loan Fund has provided a loan to help with working capital, which will aid the delivery of two major contracts the co-operative has secured with partners in Belfast and the Republic of Ireland.
Geoffrey Morgan, Director and a co-founder of the co-operative said: “We aim to assist people with their fundamental and essential needs with a human-centric and open-minded approach to modern technologies. We believe there are better futures offered by technology and they belong to everyone.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager of Co-operative & Community Finance which manages Co-op Loan Fund, said: “Animorph is an impressive organisation and the loan is fantastic opportunity for Co-op Loan Fund to support a sustainable technology-based company that is part of the co-operative movement.”
Co-op Loan Fund recognises tech and platform co-ops as a sector that requires significant focus and investment. Left unsupported, commercial tech giants are likely to take advantage, monopolise the markets and put greed and shareholder profit ahead of people and workers. Tech co-ops are uniquely placed to provide digital and technology enabled solutions which can address the challenges of the modern world while promoting co-operative values and principles.
You can find out more about the tech and platform co-ops Co-op Loan Fund have previously worked with and supported in our Equal Tech blog.
A Youth Football League founded to provide opportunity for young people to participate in organisation football matches in North Derbyshire has secured funds to buy land and buildings to develop facilities for members and benefit the local community.
Currently based across three mini venues in Matlock, Chesterfield and Clowne, North Derbyshire Youth Football League (NDYFL) has been supporting young people and providing a league for over 300 teams and approximately 3,500 youth players since its founding 1947 and is part of the Football Association and affiliated to Derby County Football Association.
NDYFL have agreed the freehold purchase of a former sports and social club in Hollingwood, Chesterfield with 8.87 acres of land to create a brand new HQ and Sports and Social Club with function rooms and facilities available to hire for member clubs and the local community. The league will be securing the buildings prior to redevelopment and meeting with the local community to discuss the plans. The addition of the site will give NDYFL some further capacity to accommodate new teams that have shown an interest in joining the growing league, building awareness and creating opportunities to develop and diversify youth football in the region.
Andy Bagshaw, Chairman of NDYFL said: “Attracting funding for a volunteer run organisation was a challenge. Many weeks of discussions with our bank and other finance companies ultimately failed to result in the investment we needed. We came across Co-operative and Community Finance (CCF) and they changed our whole perspective on what was achievable.
Kevin Lloyd-Evans and Tim Coomer were immediately supportive and guided us on taking advice from Co-operatives UK as well as helping us secure the finance we needed to complete the project. At all times we felt that C&CF ‘were on our side’ and could see the aims and importance of having our own facilities to provide youth football for hundreds of local children.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance who manage the fund said: “We are really pleased to have invested in NDYFL. When they came to us, they were struggling to navigate the complicated maze of repayable finance. We were able to help by putting them in touch with support from Coops UK and The Access Foundation’s Reach Fund. By working with Charity Bank, we were able to leverage in significant experience, skills and additional finance to really add value to NDYFL’s investment experience. Our partnership model is a growing feature of our work. It enables us to support clients better and add value through the investment process.”
You can keep up to date with NDYFL’s exciting plans by visiting their website or Facebook page.
A community owned bakery announces exciting new plans to buyout premises, provide apprenticeships and purchase new equipment.
Located about 30 miles east of Edinburgh, Dunbar Bakery has been serving the community of Dunbar for over 150 years and as a co-operative with a membership of 1,300 since 2011. Wholly owned by its shareholders who mostly live in town or nearby, the popular high street bakery (runner up in ITV’s 2012 competition Britain’s Best Bakery) provides a range of bread, pastries, cakes and sandwiches to locals and wholesale customers.
Although Covid had an impact on the bakery, it was able to stay open throughout the pandemic stepping up and providing a much relied upon and appreciated service at a difficult time for locals. Co-op Loan Fund is delighted to be able to support Dunbar Community Bakery once again with a loan that will help with growth and the purchase of new equipment with the view to attract more customers to the high street and make sure it continues to thrive.
Employing 6 full time members of staff supported by 4 part time assistants and 5 Management Committee members, the bakery celebrated its tenth birthday with plans to buy the premises and open a training scheme for young apprentices supported by a crowd fund and drive for new members with proceeds ploughed into community benefit.
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance who manage the fund said: “We are delighted to be supporting Dunbar Community Bakery again with our third loan. This is a real local success story, creating jobs and contributing to a vibrant local high street in a coastal village. The bakery is a good example of using community power to respond, create and deliver local solutions to economic challenges. We are looking to work with more co-operative across Scotland in the coming months.”
Co-op Loan Fund exists to empower co-operatives and the communities they serve by providing the accessible loan finance needed to breathe new life into local high streets. We want to see the economic benefits of a strong and healthy high street shared with employees, shoppers and the wider community rather than for private profit elsewhere.
Find out more about Dunbar Bakery’s plans by visiting their website.