Plunkett and Ecology launch dedicated mortgage for community shops

Plunkett and Ecology launch dedicated mortgage for community shops
Social Enterprise UK

The Plunkett Foundation and Ecology Building Society launch a bespoke mortgage package for community-owned shops, helping to tackle the lack of services and isolation in rural areas.

The mortgage is available to organisations that are members of, or receiving advice from, Plunkett Foundation, the only national organisation supporting the development of community-owned shops in the UK.

Around 400 commercial village shops close each year, often with drastic impacts for local economic and social wellbeing. Community-owned shops – sustainable, co-operative businesses that respond directly to local needs – help people take control over the future of their communities and secure the provision of essential services. With around 140 new community shops opening over the last five years, there is a growing demand for lending which is tailored to the needs of community-led groups.

The mortgage package is available to new or existing community shops on terms from 10 to 30 years and offers tiered interest rates linked to the level of equity raised by the group. Lower interest rates are available for community shops that can demonstrate three years’ successful trading. For each successful mortgage completion, Ecology will donate 25% of its application fee to the Plunkett Foundation – enough to provide initial support to at least five fledgling community enterprises.

Commenting on the launch, Plunkett Chief Executive, Peter Couchman said: “We are very pleased today to launch a dedicated mortgage for community shops in partnership with Ecology.  A member of Plunkett, Ecology shares our goals and values by supporting a wide-range of community-led organisations that help regenerate local economies. This is a great offer for rural communities looking to buy their village shop, and, will help to fund start-up enterprises.”

Paul Ellis, Ecology Chief Executive, said: “Community shops make a vital contribution to building a more sustainable society: regenerating the local economy, increasing democratic control, reducing loneliness and even saving car journeys. We want to use our expertise in lending to co-operatives and community groups to help even more people to secure the future of their local shop.”