We’re offering interest-free loans for enterprising ideas to improve community spaces.

Places and spaces for people to come together and enjoy shared interests are vitally important for building stronger communities.

Venues such as parks and community centres need regular income so they can continue to meet the needs of people who use them, love them, and rely on them for local services and social contact.

If your community organisation is thinking about growing its trading activities to generate more sustainable income, we might be able to help your plans take off.

The Co-op Foundation can offer:

  • Interest-free loans of up to £50,000 towards viable business ideas that will benefit the whole community – particularly those facing greater challenges.
  • No repayments for the first year, while your trading activities are developing
  • If you are based in a more deprived area, or your work mainly benefits more disadvantaged members of the community, we might also be able to offer some grant funding alongside a loan.

Is this funding right for you?

  • Is your organisation run for the benefit of the community, rather than for private profit?
  • Do you own or manage a building or outdoor space that’s used for a wide range of community activities?
  • Do you involve a wide range of local people in your work, including more disadvantaged members of the community?
  • Do you have realistic plans to develop trading activities that will grow your long-term income?
  • Are you prepared to take on a loan that will need to be repaid?

If you think that this funding could help your community organisation to become more sustainable, you can fill out an expression of interest here. If you have any questions about this funding, you can get in touch with us at foundation@coop.co.uk.  

Shaped by Co-op Members

The Co-op Foundation designed this fund with input from more than 1,000 Co-op Members across the UK, and in consultation with other organisations that support community enterprises. You can read more about this process, and the investments we made during our pilot phase, here on the Co-op’s blog.  

Image credit: Heeley Trust







We are a listed investor on Good Finance, a website to help social enterprises and charities better navigate social investment

Categories: Community Spaces


Helen Allen · 8th September 2018 at 8:09 am

Hi there,

I’m a member of the local school PTA, and we are raising money for a MUGA multi sport games arena we the school intend to rent out to the community and use for afterschool clubs, again open to the wider community. The school is located in Risley Derbyshire and does not have a school hall so this facility would provide an area for the children to do activities all year round.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Helen Allen

Mark Wilson · 13th September 2018 at 8:30 am

I would like to speak to some body from the Co op about a Co operative solution to some Transport issues in the Furness Peninsula of Furness in South Cumbria.
We have a super aging community who in many cases when they lose their car (eyes, health, financial) etc suddenly realise that a bus would be the answer even if it only ran several times a week.
Coulsd a Co operative Transport solution hire a bus to provide such a service?
Also I don’t know if any one has heard of a Scottish idea “The Foodtrain”-a delivery service for folk who live some miles from main centres. Could we meld that in a supported way to build in to a Co operative Transport solution?

I think it also opportune when folk find themselves isolated in the Country or rural area then they might be shown ways of thinking how to move to downsize. this could free up housing in those places and assist the person to move to a new home closer to services.

I am a County Councillor and with the years of Austerity our Council really has to direct the funding which is left to the vulnerable the poor, children and the elderly. We cannot put subsidies into Transport groups that regularly post hundreds of millions of pounds as profit.

Return of the Mack(glashan): Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You | SSE · 26th October 2018 at 11:54 am

[…] The Co-op Foundation are offering offering interest-free loans of up to £50,000 for enterprising ideas to improve community spaces. If you have a community organisation and are thinking about growing its trading activities to generate more sustainable income they want to hear from you. Further details here. […]

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