Community Benefit Societies
Our ecological values
Wessex Community Assets is driven by our commitment to social justice, environmental sustainability, and the power of people in connected communities to change their world. We apply these values in all our work and use them to review our performance and assess new initiatives.
As part of Wessex Community Asset’s work to develop the bioregional economy in SW England, we held a workshop on hemp fibre with 30 participants at our workspace in West Dorset. The process begins with separating (“decorticating”) the outer bast fibre from the woody core (the shiv), either manually with a hemp break or with our Hurdmaster decortication machine. The…
Dominic Acland is the chair of WCA and has spent 30 years connecting people with nature and setting up social enterprises to do the same, especially through food and farming. As a community enterprise advisor, he aims to build resilient communities based on local, sustainable principles.
Find out about our business plan support
Desktop research to review appraisal, current market, community profile and current level of need.
Set out high level business model, including key business activities, marketing, investment options, revenue requirements, impact and governance and administration. Review with directors.
Once above is agreed detailed preparation of the business plan including a one year operations plan.
Based on above develop detailed financial forecasts for business including:
· Start-up costs including ongoing revenue requirements.
· Project costs – focus on capital requirements
· Cash flow forecasts (20 years and in detail for first 5), income and expenditure account and balance sheets.
· Investment plan and community share offer targets.
The draft business plan will reviewed by the Board to set strategic direction and then at the later stages to review final drafts before final sign off by the Board.
Raise the Roof is a project co-ordinated by WCA in partnership with the Arts Development Company Common Ground, Plymouth University, Turner-prize winning design collective Assemble, Bridport Area Community Housing, Bridport Town Council and Bridport Community Shed. Funders include the Friends Provident Foundation and Dorset AONB, which has supported work with local farmers on field trials of hemp, which can be…
Tim Crabtree is a co-founder of WCA and has 20 years co-ordinating research and innovation in the field of community led housing. Through Raise the Roof, he’s currently seeking to change the way we build affordable housing.
Find out about our ecological homes concept
One important task of setting up a new community enterprise is selecting the right legal structure that will work for your business. Its easy to get lost in a maze of terminology and options. In this blog Diana provides a little of the history of the Community Benefit Society and explains why it is the legal structure of choice for…
Diana Moore runs WCA’s society registration service and is a fully-licensed Community Shares Practitioner. Diana has 25 years working with community benefit societies, social enterprises and charities, training as a building surveyor, and a passion for social and environmental justice.
Find out about the process for registering a society
So you’ve got a small group and a good idea. You’ll get to the stage when you’ll need to set up a formal organisation to help you progress. A Community Benefit Society, a form of co-operative, will help you progress your community business, for the benefit of the community. By using the Wessex Model Rules your Society will also be recognised as a Community Land Trust. Wessex Rules Registration service will help you at every stage to make it easy to register your society with the Financial Conduct Society.
Wessex Community Assets is a Community Benefit Society, governed by a board of directors, and driven by our theory of change. You can explore our theory of change in the diagram below.