Could village halls issue community shares - a proposal
Most village halls are set up as charitable trusts, where the building and surrounding land are managed by a group of trustees (the management committee) on behalf of the local community. This is a long-established and familiar structure, with a clear basis in charity law.
More recently, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation structure has become available and is rapidly growing in popularity. CIOs have all the benefits of charitable status but give charity trustees the additional comfort of incorporation (our website has more guidance on this, as does the Charity Commission’s site).
A growing number of community facilities, in particular shops and pubs, are set up as community benefit societies or bencoms. Organisations like this (which used to be known as industrial and provident societies) can issue shares, with the shareholders then becoming entitled to have a say in the running of the organisation.
Our colleagues at ACRE are exploring whether the bencom model could be helpful for village halls, especially where community engagement and support for a major building programme is being sought. If you would like to take part, please read the discussion paper below and email your comments to our community buildings adviser.
If you have any technical queries about the paper then please contact ACRE directly.