Community Shares - A First for Oban!

OBAN Communities Trust is the first organisation in the Oban area to offer people the opportunity to buy community shares in The Rockfield Centre.  This is an exciting new way of enabling everyone in the community to invest in the centre to make it their own.

Community shares specifically attract investment in projects which benefit local communities and the scheme for The Rockfield Centre will be launched in Oban this May.

With the enormous support of everyone in the community, Oban Communities Trust (OCT) is now in a position to start restoration and development of the main building. And the trust is embarking on an innovative ‘first’ to raise the final tranche of money needed.

‘When we managed to buy the school for the community we didn’t know how we could raise the £2.6 million needed to restore it,’ said Gordon McNab, chairman of OCT.

‘Two and a half years on from that first meeting to see what the community wanted to do with the former school, we have secured the bulk of the money from grants, enjoyed widespread community support for the development. and are now on looking to raise the final funds by selling community shares.’

Oban Communities Trust has set itself up as a Community Benefit Society which means it can issue ‘withdrawable shares’. Community shares are a unique form of social investment:. They are all about supporting the social purpose of a community project. Community Shares cannot be transferred but can be withdrawn in the future. Gordon added: ‘The value of the shares is fixed but Oban Communities Trust aims to pay interest on your investment after three years and gain assurance in advance from HMRC that investors will be able to apply for tax relief too. It’s a win, win situation.’

Eleanor MacKinnon, project facilitator of The Rockfield Centre said: ‘We all have a wonderful opportunity now to show our continuing support for this exciting project by buying some community shares and ensuring the work on the main building starts this autumn!’

‘The Rockfield Centre is already the hub of the community providing cultural activities and events, a place for celebrating our history and heritage, offering learning opportunities for all ages and being a focus for a range of community groups and activities which will benefit our communities for years to come.’

As the Trust builds up to the launch of the share offer in May, more information will be available on how people can invest in community shares.  In the meantime visit the Rockfield Centre website at www.therockfieldcentre.org.uk and register your interest in being kept up to date about the share offer, or contact Eleanor MacKinnon at: eleanor@therockfieldcentre.org.uk

Lyn Connelly