Frequently Asked Questions:
Please read the following for full information: Community Share Offer; Co-op Rules and our Business Plan
Why should I buy shares in Village Greens?
Because we need your money to start a community owned shop that will deliver ethical, sustainable, fresh, local and organic products and fulfill a demand that our research shows is there. Once the business is up and running it will provide employment for local people and be a focus for the community.
What do I get for my investment?
You will own shares in Village Greens as a member and have a say in its success. Regardless of the amount of shares purchased each shareholder will have only one vote at general meetings.
Who can become a member?
Anyone who is over the age of 16 years can apply for shares. You do not need to live locally, or even reside in the UK. It is common for people who share a similar ethos to often invest in new co-operative ventures.
How much are shares and how much can I invest?
Shares in Village Greens (Prestwich) Co-operative Ltd are £1 each, with a minimum investment of 100 shares or £100 per person, to a maximum of 20,000 shares or £20,000.
How do I buy shares?
Simply fill in the application form and return it to the address together with your cheque made out for the FULL amount of investment. Alternatively apply on-line and pay by BACS at www.village-greens.coop.co.uk The Board consider each application and your money is placed in a trust account. If there are any problems, your money would not be an asset of Village Greens. Once we know we can proceed with sufficient funds, the money will be transferred from the trust account to Village Greens and we will notify you of your membership.
What is SEIS?
Seed Enterprise Initiative Scheme (SEIS) offers 50% tax relief to those eligible, ie £50 for each £100 invested. The scheme works by allowing investors, who are tax payers, to apply for part of their investment to be offset against their tax liability. This is a government initiative to encourage investment in startup business’, and HMRC has given advanced assurance that the Village Greens share offer will be eligible for this scheme. Tax law is complicated and this is a matter between the investor and HMRC. Anyone interested in this should seek qualified professional advice.
Will my investment remain confidential?
Absolutely. At no time will the amount of your investment be disclosed to anyone other than the immediate Board of Directors, and this is purely for administrative purposes. All companies are legally required to maintain a register of members names which must be available for inspection at the companies offices by anyone requesting to see it.
We would like to publish a list of all our investors on our website by name only, but you can opt out of this if you choose at time of application.
Will I receive interest on my shares?
Interest may be paid from time to time but it is unlikely that it will be paid within the first 3 years of trading to ensure that the shop remains on a sound financial footing with suitable levels of reserves. Your investment needs to be considered for its social return, bringing a much needed service to the area, and as members you will be able to choose how profits are spent in the future through involvement at AGMs.
If I can’t afford to invest are there other ways to be involved?
Definitely. You can come and support the Village Greens by shopping with us; you can be an ambassador by spreading the word and encouraging others to shop and you can volunteer to help. Plus you can pay by instalments to spread your investment making it manageable eg £10 for 10 months – see further down for full details.
Who are the people organising this?
The Board of Directors proposing this share offer are a group of volunteers who believe passionately in the viability of Village Greens. Collectively they have varied experience in different professions, including retail, management, consultancy and people skills. You can trust that we would not all be doing this if we did not believe the business is viable and will be an asset to our community. Our full profiles are on our business plan.
Who will benefit from the project?
Everyone within both the immediate and wider vicinities of Prestwich and Manchester who care about the provenance and quality of their food. Village Greens presents an opportunity to be involved with a business trading with integrity, that is a long term project ensuring current and future consumers will benefit from this ethical food store within their community. Plus Village Greens will offer local jobs with a responsible employer providing training and volunteering opportunities, and community education programmes. Village Greens may increase footfall helping other local traders and will keep money circulating in our local economy.
Where will the shop be?
We are looking to site the shop in the heart of Prestwich village, in one of the units in The Longfield Centre.
Who will run the shop?
The shop will be strategically managed by the current Board on behalf of its’ members, with re-election each year at the AGM. Paid employees will be recruited from both within and without the Board, with volunteers coming from the Board, shareholders and the community.
Will the shop succeed?
It is well proven that communities that work together to set up and shape a co-operative enterprise continue to support it in the future, therefore ensuring its success. The community shop model is an expanding business area, and has proved itself to be very resilient, with a 95% success rate compared to an average of 45% in other UK small business areas (Plunkett Foundation, How to Set up a Community Shop e-book). Our market research shows a strong favourable response to bringing this alternative shopping experience to Prestwich, with a huge 97.99% of those who filled in our survey saying they would shop in Village Greens.
What will happen to any profit?
The sustainability and/or expansion of the business is always the first priority, so a financial reserve will be set aside to assure this. The Directors will report on profits at each AGM and, as democratic members, you will then be able to vote for how best any additional profits may be used. For example, offering interest on shares; dividends that recognise contribution of members to Village Greens (the more you shop the more you gain); local social, co-operative and community purposes.
Is there an annual subscription fee?
No. There is no membership fee or annual subscription required.
What is my liability as a member if I invest?
It is limited to the value of the shares you purchase.
Can I sell my shares?
No. Your shares cannot be sold or transferred, except in the event of death or bankruptcy of the shareholder.
Can we own shares jointly?
No. Each member of a household must apply individually for their share option. Please ask us if you need additional application forms, or download one from our website.
Can I invest in instalments?
Yes. We want ownership to be open to all who are interested in being a part of Village Greens, so you can pay in instalments as long as full investment is completed within 12 months. You may then be entitled to 50% tax relief under the SEIS scheme if you are a tax payer. You will become a member with a right to vote when your last instalment has been paid. To choose this option just complete the share application as normal, letting us know the amount and duration of payment, and set up a standing order to:
Village Greens (Prestwich) Co-operative
Sort Code 08-92-99 Account No 65690552
Is my investment guaranteed?
The simple answer is no. As with all investments there are risks, so therefore we cannot guarantee your investment. With this in mind please see your investment as a long term contribution to your community, and please read the Share Offer document in full or seek independent advice before investing.
However, the best way to ensure the success of your investment is by shopping in Village Greens regularly yourself, and being an ambassador through encouraging others and spreading the word. The security of your investment is then greatly increased.
How and when can I withdraw my shares?
The shares in Village Greens (Prestwich) Co-operative Ltd need to be locked in for 3 years from the shop starting to trade to ensure stability of the business in its early stages, and to meet government requirements for SEIS. You can then request to withdraw your shares by giving 3 months’ notice, but payment is at the discretion of the Board to avoid a run of withdrawals, who will always consider the sustainability of the business first. Your investment should be seen as a long-term investment offering a permanent shop.
What happens to my shares if the business fails?
In the event of this happening, the assets of the Village Greens would be sold and after settling with creditors, the proceeds would be divided between shareholders up to the value of their shares, with any surplus being donated for community/charitable use.
Are there any other sources of finance?
At present we are confident we can raise the required capital from the Community Share Offer alone. We are looking into the possibility of grants or funding to help with start up costs, and initially received 4 days’ free time from The Co-operative Group ( Coop Enterprise Hub) to assist with incorporation, mentoring and advice, plus study visit expenses from Plunkett Foundation.
What is a multistake co-operative?
This allows members from different categories to be included in the democratic running of the Society. Village Greens (Prestwich) Co-operative Ltd has adopted the Co-ops UK Multistake Rule model with 3 member categories, of User member, Employee member and Supporter member.
■ A User member is a shareholder who may use the service, eg customer;
■ Employee can be admitted to membership on completion of a probationary
period, and by buying one share
■ Supporters are other people or organisations with an interest in supporting the
All categories of members, regardless of shareholding size, are equal with one vote per member. This may sound complicated but ensures that everyone’s voice is heard.