NAME OF ORGANISATION: Stockwood Community Benefit Society (CBS)
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012
ABOUT: 150 acres of North Worcestershire which is farmed organically and biodynamically. A small rural business park on the farm provides employment for around 100, and a 5% return every year for investors.
INVESTMENT PURPOSE: to bring Rush Farm, a 150 acre certified biodynamic and organic farm in Worcestershire, and Stockwood Business Park, an ethically and sustainably run rural business park based on the farm, into community ownership.
INVESTMENT AMOUNT: £200,000
DATE OF INVESTMENT: 2014
SOURCE OF INVESTMENT: Community Share Offer, Resonance Community Share Underwriting Fund
IMPACT: Food & Farming; Energy & The Environment; Community & Local Democracy
ABOUT: Stockwood CBS is 150 acres of North Worcestershire which is farmed organically and biodynamically. With over 400 members and over £1.4 million of shareholder investment, Stockwood is a beacon example of community ownership. The income from the business park pays its investors a return – 5% every year since it started in 2014.
The farm being organic requires more labour and so offers jobs to local people. The community co-owns the farm in the manner of a cooperative, where 1 member 1 vote. Members can buy produce and get involved in the farm, as well as participate in training courses and events to learn some of the skills required to build the future of the Benefit Society.
PURPOSE OF INVESTMENT: In their first collaboration, social finance intermediaries Resonance and Ethex worked together on an ambitious community share offer: raising £1m for Stockwood Community Benefit Society, so Rush Farm and the business park could become community owned.
Once the Society was up and running, attention turned to building a renewable energy district heating system for the business park. This second phase at Stockwood also helped purchase the remaining 31 acres of land at Rush Farm. This time it was able to use the Social Investment Tax Relief to offer investors a tax efficient bond that saved Stockwood money.
Sebastian Parsons, Founder of Stockwood CBS: “We founded the Society in 2012 and purchased the assets in 2014. During those two years we had to work out how to explain our plan and reach out to the community to appeal for new members. Resonance supported us all the way. Resonance helped us explain our vision, helped us create the necessary documents and guided us as we created our first Board. We could not have done it without Resonance; they were an incredible resource - as visionary as we were with expertise to match.”
Daniel Brewer, CEO at Resonance: “It is hugely rewarding when deals like this come together and we can see the dreams and visions of communities become a reality. This asset is now locked in perpetuity for generations to come for the community to enjoy and profit from.”
Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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