We have set up a company in which villagers can invest by buying shares. The primary objective of the company is to run the Shop and Cafe for the benefit of the community, and in the longer term, if there is any surplus, to use this for the benefit of the wider community of Frittenden. The company itself is a Community Benefit Society and is registered with, and regulated by, the Financial Conduct Authority.
Anyone who invests the minimum of £20, which will be the price of a single share, will have a vote and therefore a say in the affairs of the business at Annual Members Meetings. There will be a Management Committee elected from and by Members to oversee the day-to-day running of the business. Of course, we welcome bigger share holdings (legal maximum is £100,000) but the business will operate strictly on a one member, one vote basis, regardless of how many shares you hold.
The Company will not pay dividends to shareholders but you may be able to recoup your initial investment in the future by selling your shares back to the Company. To give the business a chance to establish itself we will need to agree an initial period of three to five years during which time the buying back of shares will be restricted, but thereafter the expectation is that there may be profits to fund withdrawals within parameters agreed by the Management Committee.
To help us judge the level of support, we would be grateful if you would fill in the response form with how much money you are prepared to pledge. No money changes hands at this stage, and this is not a final commitment on your part. More financial information and details of the proposals will be provided in due course before you decide whether you would like to buy shares or make a donation.
We appreciate that many of you will want your pledges to be kept confidential and so only two members of the steering group will collate the information and will provide the rest of the group with the totals only.
The Share Issue will be launched in spring 2021 and will be open for six weeks.
For more information on Community Shares here is a leaflet published by the Plunkett Foundation.