The Rockfield Centre is Nearly There!

Two and a half years ago, Oban’s former Rockfield school teetered on the brink of demolition. Now, it’s within a midge’s whisker of transformation into a bright, modern, cultural community hub.

The journey has been a surprisingly quick one considering the size of the fundraising challenge and the small Oban Communities Trust team has raised almost £2 million in that time.  

The final push is a community share offer, giving everyone a chance to invest in the future of The Rockfield Centre. Refurbishment will then start in December 2018.

Already a thriving part of the community

Since the Trust took ownership in May 2015, 24,000 people have attended events and activities at The Rockfield Centre, volunteers have donated 10,767 hours of their time and the centre has hosted 31 public heritage events, 58 public arts events and 32 creative workshops. In addition, local trades have donated £127,000 of services in kind.

The outbuildings have seen Blether Sessions, a Friendship Club, kids activities and open mic nights, Scratch Choir and music sessions, yoga and mindfulness, a community charity shop, heritage events, exhibitions and sewing classes. The OCT team has also developed a heritage walking trail, a children’s play map of Oban and archive footage of various Oban histories.

What the new building will offer

At the first meeting in the Phoenix Cinema two and half years ago, the community identified four key themes for the Rockfield Centre: Education and Enterprise
Arts and Culture
History and Heritage
Community Wellbeing.

Since then the community huts have offered a range of activities and meeting space to fulfil these aims.
You will enter the building through the door on the right hand end to be welcomed by the creative buzz of the cafe reception area, selling and exhibiting the work of local artists and craftspeople, some of whom will work in the building.

Once inside you’ll notice the feel of an inclusive, friendly community with a wide cross-section of people using the public areas of the all-weather children’s heritage attraction, canteen and gallery shop.

You’ll see locals and visitors using free WiFi, artists in overalls bustling about, sole-traders and business people using the shared workspaces, and locals meeting for a chat. There will be art exhibitions, adverts for evening classes, meetups, live performances, parties, whisky tastings and more.

How the final £400,000 will be raised

Gordon McNab, chairman of OCT explained: “We need £2.6 million to restore the building and have already secured the bulk of the money from grants. We are so near the finish line – we only need to raise the last £400,000 from our community share offer to get the centre refurbished and the lights on.”

Since 2009, almost 120,000 people have invested over £100m in community share offers to support 350 community businesses throughout the UK.

Gordon went on to say “Community shares are a social investment which is really special – as well as supporting your community, you will be eligible for a return on your investment, possible tax benefits and the chance to get your money back at some future time. “

“Our shares will be priced at £1 each with a minimum purchase of £250. Each shareholder will have one vote only – so it doesn’t matter if you buy one or a thousand shares– you will still have one vote which keeps everyone the same. And for those who want to buy in but £250 is too much there will be other ways in which to come onboard and still be part of the centre.”

“Community shares are about you and what you and your family will get from The Rockfield Centre as well as the benefits the centre will bring to Oban and the wider area. As well as the social benefits there is a strong economic benefit to everyone in the area – more destination activities in Oban will mean more visitors staying and spending in our town, filling bed spaces, food outlets and other visitor attractions. It’s a win-win all round.”

How you can help

To find out more about how to invest in the future of your community, visit The Rockfield Centre page at www.therockfieldcentre.co.uk come into The Rockfield Centre or call 07483 308 142.

Shares.coop starts a new chapter

Shares.coop is changing again, this time as Alex Bird, of consultancy.coop, who created and has run it for 6 years has decided it is time to pass it over to someone else to look after. It has therefore passed to CBC (Co-operative Business Consultants, cbc.coop) for the next chapter of its life.

My name is Jeremy Thorp and I will be taking over where Alex is leaving off. For the moment, I will keep things much as the are, but will gradually review all the pages on the site and see if there are ways I can make the site more useful for the coops that are listed. The basic idea will stay the same, free listing for any community share offer that asks to be listed, and small fees of £40 per month to be listed at the head of the home page, and £30 per month to be listed in the right side bar. Please continue to send me your share offer details on sales@shares.coop.

In the meantime, many thanks to Alex for his work keeping it going over the years, we will try to keep it going in the same spirit of co-operation among co-operatives.

 

shares.coop is changing

Since December 2012 we’ve been listing all the Community Shares offers we could find details on. Almost all were in the UK, where Community Shares are an important way to raise funds for worthwhile causes and projects, but we’ve listed a few in other countries as well.

However, the world constantly changes, and we are changing too. More and more Community Shares are being offered via third party crowdfunding sites, and so are much easier for the general public to find. The need for a long list of available offers is less than it was, so we are stopping that service.

Instead we’ll be identifying all those intermediary sites that offer Community Shares, so that anyone looking to invest can still find them easily. We’ll also list any permanently open offers that we know of.

The listing process was very labour intensive, and as it was conducted by volunteers, we’d like to thank them all, as well as the small number of people in other organisations who kept us informed of upcoming offers.

Thanks

Alex Bird (webmaster)

Xmas Gift idea

A quick note to say Small Wind Co-op gift shares are still available – the perfect gift for somebody you know who would love to co-own a wind turbine (or 3 wind turbines in Scotland and Wales to be precise). The gift shares are available until 16 December which is also the end date for our share offer as a whole, in case you would like to buy a few shares for yourself. At a projected 6.5% return they are an attractive ethical investment – and exempt from Inheritance Tax!

See all the details at:

http://smallwind.org.uk/gift/

All the best for the festive season

The Sharenergy Team

Community Share Offers extended

Two more solar PV schemes have been extended to give more time for investors to take up the offers:-
Grimsby Community Energy – Six community building PV installations totalling 100kW – offer extended to 30/11/16
Plymouth Energy Community – Solar on multiple sites – offer extended to 30/12/16
For details see our main offers page

Swansea Community Energy Shares Launch

swansea-community-energySCEES Community Share Offer Launch Event

Monday 7th November, 6.30pm

Swansea Business School UWTSD, High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NE

I am very pleased to be inviting you to attend the launch event of Swansea Community Energy and Investment Scheme’s (SCEES) first community share offer.

SCEES was initiated by Swansea Council and is now a community benefit society which is directed and managed by a group of local enthusiasts. SCEES’ vision is about creating ‘a better future for everyone’. Continue reading

Sharenergy projects

Small Wind Co-op

Our good friends at Sharenergy are delighted to announce the launch of the Small Wind Co-op’s second share offer. They’re raising another £550,000 in shares over the next 2 months to complete the financing of our three turbines in Scotland and Wales. The shares are available on the same basis as the earlier share offer – 6.5% projected return and the opportunity to use the energy generated in your own home via Co-operative Energy. For all the details see the website:

http://www.smallwind.org.uk Continue reading