A new mortgage scheme that will help rural community groups is being established in UK. The project will make it easier for them to help start-up community shops. This new venture is a partnership between Ecology Building Society and the Plunkett Foundation, which supports community enterprise around the world.
Anna Laycock, spokesperson for Ecology, said the partnership would help support and grow the community shop movement in a number of ways. “Through this partnership, the interest rate ceiling for community shop mortgages is lower than our general lending for community gain, which reflects the confidence that working with Plunkett members and Plunkett-advised shops brings us”.
Talking about the eligibility criteria for the program, Laycock said, “The package is available to new and emerging community shops, whereas, in general, our commercial mortgages aren’t available for new businesses as we usually ask for the last three years’ business accounts”. Mortgages of up to £750,000 are available.
Laycock said that Ecology was keen to continue developing expertise in this area as part of its aim to support the social economy, and added that 25% of the lending fee for new community shop mortgages through this partnership would go back to Plunkett. “That’s enough to provide initial support for at least five fledgling community enterprises,” she said.