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  • Writer's pictureRoxy Piper

Four ways to invest in Devon

1. Community Buildings

Owning your local buildings means that you have the power to decide important things about your local assets to make a difference where you live.

Become part owner of Littlehempston Community Pub! They have a share offer target of 300k, they are not far off the mark! See their pub-o-metre to see how close they are and learn how you can invest. In another part of Devon locals have raised thousands to save a pub in the town. They have opened up membership of Bovey Paradiso with a vision to create a lively community cinema, theatre, arts, restaurant, and entertainment centre in Bovey Tracey called Bovey Paradiso.

And it’s not just community pubs that are on the table. There are bookshops such as Crediton Community Bookshop, community centres like TAAG in Teignmouth, and others like Ide Community Shop and Post office. Shaldon post office are in the early stages of saving their local asset and forming a new Community Interest Company - people have been donating to their setting up fund to help them get off the ground.

Nudge Community builders in Stonehouse, Plymouth, invite local people to ‘nudge’ local buildings to bring local assets back into community ownership. They have successfully breathed life back into 3 buildings so far! This includes the Millennium Building, which elevates Plymouth's arts and culture scene to a national scale and provides local jobs.

Most community shares offers are made by enterprises registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Find out about different community business models such as co-ops Ben Coms, and the support available in Devon to set one up here.

2. Community Energy Organisations

With the current energy crisis hitting families in Devon now is a perfect time to support community energy. You can become a member of a local energy enterprise and help invest in local energy. These investments mean solar and renewable heating systems for schools, community owned energy for community-led housing, local jobs, energy saving advice, training in sustainable energy use, and more. You don’t even have to wait for a community share offer, you can join straight away for as little as £1!

Local energy organisations have been so successful they have been able to create quality local jobs and put money back into community projects. These organisations have not only helped decarbonise part of the public sector but have also saved money for the public purse. Saving in the public sector such as the NHS means that your hard earned taxes can be reinvested where it's needed. See the full list of local energy organisations to invest in here.

3. Climate Emergency Centres

Since scientists in the IPCC report warned us we have 10 years to act (now down to 8 years!), councils across Devon and other parts of the UK have declared a climate emergency. Devon County Council, unitary authorities like Torbay, and some parish and town councils are beginning to think seriously about ways to spend public money to invest in communities in order to help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

But what can communities do? Inspired by impactful projects such as Think and Do Camden, the idea of Climate Emergency Centres has taken off across the UK as local responses to a need for community hubs as places to get inspiration and support for addressing the emergency and to invest in future generations. Dedicated groups have popped up in Tiverton, Exeter, Totnes, and Plymouth, to name a few! See reports on the climate emergency and ways to respond on our online knowledge hub.

The Totnes Climate Change Response Centre Team crowdfunder to rent a building for an extended time provides security and stability for the project. They will develop educational outreach programs for local schools and colleges, offer workshops, counselling, coaching, support community wellbeing, and more. At the time of writing they have raised over 27k! Invest here.

4. Community Housing

Community-owned housing is a fine way to invest in Devon. We have seen some inspiring examples such as LILAC co-housing in Leeds, where the homes and land are managed by residents through a Mutual Home Ownership. This is a pioneering financial model that ensures permanent affordability.

The Bristol Tiny House Community is leading the way towards housing that is low cost and low impact on the environment. Tiny home groups are springing up across Devon to explore ways to set up organisations for local, quick to build, affordable, and low carbon housing. This is in part due to the growing housing emergency, but also because some people want to find new sustainable ways to live and work. With rural housing prices at an all time high, care workers, land workers, new entrants to farming, and more want new ways to address their housing needs. Compact homes and tiny homes are something seen as a way forward for rural Devon.

The Devon Housing hub has success stories to inspire you, and community led housing advisers on hand to offer support to local housing groups. You can also see video case studies, do-it-yourself guides, and more on our online knowledge hub.

New Prosperity Devon regularly holds events and training for local enterprises, public sector staff and local campaigners on ways to build new local economies. Check our events page for updates on our events and hear good news in Devon in our newsletter.


Roxy Piper

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