Basically it is like any other co-operative society EXCEPT that instead of being for the benefit of its members, it is for the benefit of the community area it has been registered to support.
Ours supports the Birkenhead and Tranmere area shown on the Geography page.
There is a more detailed definition below and links where you can find out even more if you are interested.
The Birkenhead and Tranmere Community benefit Society is applying for charitable status under the 2014 Act, but this has not yet been granted.
(The text in the panel below was taken from here (which is a document download link):
You can also see other documents about community benefit societies here:
- Conduct of business – The business must be run primarily for the benefit of people who are not members of the society, and must also be in the interests of the community at large. It will usually be charitable or philanthropic in character.
- Interest on share and loan capital – It is unusual for a community benefit society to issue more than nominal share capital (for example, one £1 share per member). Where it does issue more than nominal share capital or where members make loans to the society, or both, any interest paid must not be more than a reasonable rate necessary to obtain and retain enough capital to run the business.
- Profits and assets – The society’s rules must not allow either profits or the society’s assets to be distributed to the members. Profits must generally be used to further the objects of the society by being ploughed back into the business. Where profits are used in part for another purpose, that purpose should be similar to the main object of the society, for example for philanthropic or charitable purposes. The rules must specify the beneficiary or beneficiaries, if any.
Where the rules of the society allow assets to be sold, the proceeds of the sale should be used to further the society’s business activities only.
- Dissolution – The society’s rules must not allow its assets to be distributed to its members on dissolution. The rules should state that on dissolution the assets should be transferred, for example, to some other body with similar objects. If no such body exists, the rules should state that the assets must then be used for similar charitable or philanthropic purposes.
- If a society with a registered address in England and Wales has exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit it is an ‘exempt charity’. This means it cannot be registered with the Charity Commission but it is still subject to charity law. For details on these points societies are encouraged to contact the Charity Commission.
The official registration of Birkenhead and Tranmere Community Benefit Society is documented here. The Document includes the rules that the society must follow (But you’ll have to scroll to the end to find them!)