Go Green fund launched for co-ops and community businesses

New funding opportunity for co-ops supports energy-efficiency measures

Co-operatives UK and Crowdfunder have launched a fund to support community businesses as they invest in greener ways of operating. 

The £250,000 Energy Efficiency Sharematch fund helps co-operative and community benefit societies in England raise capital via community shares to pay for measures that reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint. This can include the installation of solar panels, heat pumps, insulation, LED lighting, double glazing and draft proofing – as well as the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and transport.  

The fund will provide grant funding to match money raised from community investors. It is provided by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment using funds from the Dormant Assets Scheme, which redirects money from forgotten accounts to good causes. 

“We’re proud to be working with Crowdfunder and Access to support communities in England to reduce their carbon footprint,” said John Dawson, head of market development for the Community Shares Unit at Co‑operatives UK

”With the climate crisis and high fuel costs, community businesses are seeking ways to decarbonise their operations and reduce spending – through using efficient vehicles and equipment, insulating their premises or installing new energy-saving technologies.”

Dawson highlighted how community shares “offer a more affordable way to invest in going green than traditional loan finance” and offer an opportunity to engage local communities in the climate crisis.

Applicants must be a suitable legal structure (co-operative society, community benefit society or charitable community benefit society) and must run their share offer on Crowdfunder before March 2025. Organisations raising investment in community shares for a wider project could also be eligible for any energy-efficiency measures being installed.  

“With the launch of this new fund we’re interested to see how community owned businesses can use community shares to provide affordable finance to help them become more sustainable,” said Jason Nuttall, programme director at Crowdfunder.

“Many community-owned businesses are open for long hours and based in older buildings with high energy needs. Energy bills are having a massive impact on profitability, so this funds aims to support organisations to undertake measures to become more energy efficient, cutting fuel bills and helping long term sustainability.” 

For more information, read about the Energy Efficiency Sharematch here or, if you know you are eligible, complete the expression of interest form.