Forever Homes for Vulnerable Adults in Cornwall Now a Step Closer with Innovative Match Funding

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25 August 2020

Co-operatives UK (with funding provided by The Architectural Heritage Fund) has pledged a £50,000 investment to Mustard Seed Property’s latest community share offer, via the ‘Community Shares Booster Programme1’. This innovative “match funding” has meant that the share offer has already raised over £278,0002 of its £600,000 target, to house vulnerable adults in Cornwall.

With additional match funding potentially available from funders, this means that for every £1 invested by the community from now on, Mustard Seed Property (MSP) will aim to secure a match investment of £1, to reach the target.

This is great news for MSP which will use the capital raised from this share offer to refurbish its second property, recently bought in Redruth, and purchase a third property, providing more forever homes for adults with learning disabilities.

Since 2007, working with its partners, MSP has provided a home for over forty vulnerable adults with learning disabilities or at risk from homelessness. Having secured its second property, and the planned purchase of a third, by 2022 it should be able to house, with partners’ support, at least 16 more people each year. In some cases this will be a first move towards further independence, but for others this could their home for life.

Mike Lowe, one of the directors of MSP explains why the investment and match funding could make a real difference: “We are so grateful to the Architectural Heritage Fund for their £50,000 investment, which has allowed us to reach our initial minimum target and ensure we can refurbish our second property. Match funding is a brilliant way to provide confidence and momentum to an offer, as investors know that their investment will be matched pound for pound by the programme. We will hopefully be able to achieve our optimum target even more quickly and be able support more vulnerable people in Cornwall, with a third property.”

Gavin Richards from the Architectural Heritage Fund added: “We’re delighted to make this investment to Mustard Seed Property. It will transform a historic building in Redruth’s conservation area, helping to revitalise the town centre. And by doing so, it will provide much-needed accommodation for the most vulnerable in our society. We encourage others to invest in this worthwhile scheme.”

This offer follows MSP’s previous success in raising capital via community share offers: £300,000 in 2007 which purchased and converted an old bed and breakfast property, which positively changed the lives of five families; and £350,000 in 2018, which purchased another property offering more accommodation, support and care for vulnerable adults with learning difficulties in Cornwall.

MSP is a charitable organisation with a proven track record as a robust commercial investor, having a decade of paying shareholders a financial return every year without fail. MSP is looking for investors in its current share offer, who can invest from as little as £250. The details of the offer are available on the Ethex website.

Co-operatives UK is the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives. It works to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses across the economy. From high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, co-operatives are everywhere and together they are worth £38 billion to the British economy.

Alice Wharton from Co-operatives UK said: “We’re excited to match investments in this community-owned business. We were impressed with the level of quality and transparency in their Standard Mark awarded share offer and also MSP’s commitment to their community. It’s now over to the community to unlock our investment!”

1About the Community Shares Booster Programme
The Community Shares Booster Programme is a funding scheme to support community share offers. It invests equity up to £100,000 to match community shares in societies that can demonstrate higher than average levels of community impact, innovation and engagement. Match funding is in the form of equity held on equal terms with other community shareholders. The programme also provides development grants of up to £10,000 to help societies get investment ready and meet standards of good practice. It is administered by the Community Shares Unit and funded with support from The Architectural Heritage Fund and Power to Change.

2 Correct at time of publishing.

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