South West Co-operative Support was founded in 2008 as the consortium of specialist co-operative development organisations in the South West. Advice is delivered through the six SWCS members, which employ 14 Social Enterprise advisers with many years' experience in this sector.
Our services include business idea testing, incorporation, governance reviews, business planning, raising finance (including community shares), going for growth and on-going training for co-operative and community led organisations. Click here for examples of some of the work that our members have done.
There is currently a surge in interest in Community Shares. SWCS has specialist expertise advising on community shares initiatives [link to YouTube video]. Over the last five years groups SWCS has assisted have raised £5.7m in community shares, £1.4m in grants/donations and £1.8m in loans, totalling a significant investment of £8.8m in VCSEs. We work closely with Co-operative and Community Finance, the oldest and most successful Community Development Finance Institution in the UK, whose expertise over that time has led to £5.2M invested or lent to 159 VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprises) organisations. SWCS currently has two advisers working through the current Community Shares unit pilot to be licensed to issue the community shares compliance mark.