Cultivate is Community Owned
Cultivate is a co-operative social enterprise formally registered in England as an Industrial and Provident Society for Community Benefit, number 31487R. Our registered address is 14 Southdale Rd, Oxford, OX2 7SD.
We are a group of people working together to achieve something in our community by means of creating a functioning business. We encourage anyone with an interest in improving Oxford’s food system to join the co-operative as a member. Members make important decisions about the direction and objectives of the enterprise, and elect a Board of Directors every year to oversee its operations. Some members are shareholders, having invested in a time-bound community share offer that ran from January to April 2012, while others are supporter members paying an annual subscription or workshare members committing to 1/2 day work every month. There is no functional differentiation between membership types.
Cultivate’s governing document or ‘rules’ are the cornerstone of our governance arrangements. The rules set out how Cultivate is owned and managed. You can download them from here: Cultivate Oxfordshire Limited Rules. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. The rules say that Cultivate operates “for the benefit of the community by empowering members to take joint strategic action in Oxfordshire to work towards a more socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable food system.”
About Community Shares
Cultivate’s start-up funding came from the local community via a community share offer. The following information is from the Community Shares web site:
There is no legal definition of community shares. The term is used here to refer to a unique form of share capital called ‘withdrawable shares’ which can only be issued by co-operatives or community benefit societies registered with the Financial Services Authority.
Withdrawable shares are very different from ‘transferable shares’, which are the type of shares normally issued by companies. To cash-in transferable shares you must first find a buyer to whom you can ‘transfer’ (i.e. sell) your shares, at an agreed price. Shares in larger companies are bought and sold through stock markets, but these markets do not cater for smaller companies where there are very few buyers or sellers. Finding someone willing to buy shares in a small venture can be very difficult. A withdrawable share can be withdrawn from investment, subject to the terms and conditions of the society concerned. This provides a straightforward way of getting your money back when you want to cash-in your shares.
The main reason for buying community shares is to support the social aims of the venture concerned. Unlike shares in private companies, where personal financial gain is the main motive, community shares are subject to laws that limit financial gain and emphasise social benefit.
Investing money, by purchasing shares, makes you a part-owner in the venture. It entitles you to have a say in how the organisation is run, and you may also be offered interest on your investment and the scope to cash-in your shares and get your money back.