Frequently Asked Questions

Every Saturday in August there will be a member of the team in York Supplies, available to answer questions and, if you want, to help you sign up. Do pop in and say hello!

When can I invest?

Now! The share offer launched officially in July 2023 and you can invest directly here on the website.

Everyone on the York Supplies Action Group mailing lists or social media platforms will have been advised that the share offer is open, and we are telling people at our regular market stalls and in the shop. 

We are also leafleting houses working outwards from York Supplies. If you would like to help, please contact us at

How do I invest?

Click here to fill out an application form. Don’t forget to hit Submit! 

Once the form is submitted you will receive an acknowledgement email with a unique ID number and payment details to make your bank transfer to the York Supplies Community Society Ltd (YSCSL) account with the Co-operative Bank. 

You MUST use this unique ID number in the Your Reference box when you are setting up the bank transfer, otherwise we will not be able to match your payment to you.

Once we have checked we have received your money you will receive another email confirming your investment is safe in the YSCSL account. This may take a few days.

Payments will be held untouched until the share offer has closed, when we will contact you again to let you know how much has been raised and what the next steps are, and to send you your share certificate.

I cannot apply online, can I still invest?

We would very much prefer online applications, and we plan to have someone with a computer in the shop and devices on stalls and at other events who can help you to sign up online.

If this is simply not possible for you, then we can send you a paper copy of the application form and you can send it back to us with a cheque. Please follow the instructions on the form to make your investment. Cheques will not be banked until the share offer has been successful and has closed. 

For this option please contact us on or 0121 630 3678 or ask in the shop.

Who can invest?

Anyone over the age of 16 can invest (but only people aged 18 or above can serve as Directors).

Can we make a joint investment?

Unfortunately not, because it is procedurally complicated. We recommend that joint investors each make equal individual investments to make up their desired total. Also, in that way each investor becomes a Member of YSCSL in their own right, with their own vote.

Can I buy shares as a gift for someone else?

Originally we did not intend to permit this because it can be a complicated process, but people keep asking about it! So in York Supplies style, we have found a way to make this possible. If you want to give shares as a gift please contact our Share Offer Administrator on or 0121 630 3678.

Can organisations and businesses invest in Community Shares?

Yes. A representative of that organisation or business will need to become a nominated Member of the Society on behalf of their organisation or business. If the organisation or business is legally incorporated, the shareholding remains the property of the organisation or business and any withdrawal would be paid to the organisation or business.

If the organisation or business is not legally incorporated (e.g., a small sports club) then the shares are the legal property of the named individual who completes the form and any withdrawal would go to the named individual, and it would be a matter for the organisation and the named individual to resolve how this was handled by them.

I thought we’d got a big grant, why do we still need to raise money?

Two reasons. First, the grant is for match funding. That means that we get a pound of grant for every pound we raise from the community. So if we don’t raise any money, we won’t get any of the grant, and we will lose York Supplies.

Second, we need £600,000 to buy York Supplies, and the grant is for a total of £300,000, so we do need to raise the rest of the money through this share offer.

I want to invest but would prefer to put in a smaller amount than £100

We have designed a Share Save scheme for this need. Put in as much or as little as you like, as often as you like, over a period of up to twelve months. Once your total investment reaches £100 you will become a full voting Member and will receive a share certificate.

Upon application you will receive an acknowledgement email that includes an explanation of the scheme and signs you up to it.

We are currently seeking grant funding to underwrite this scheme. If this is successful then you would be able to become a full voting Member immediately upon paying your first instalment.

I want to invest more than £100 but I can’t do it all at once, can I do this through the Share Save scheme?

Unfortunately not. The way to do this is to make an initial £100 minimum investment, and then make further bank transfers of any amount you like, using the same ID number each time. We need you to use the same ID number so that we can keep track of your total. You will need to complete your investments by the close of the share offer.

Once the share offer has been successful and the co-op is up and running, we anticipate that we will establish a system for accepting investments on a rolling basis. This will contribute to the business’s working capital, and in due course (that is, after five years) will enable YSCSL to meet any requests for share withdrawals.

If I want to invest more than £100, do I have to invest in increments of £100?

No, you can invest what you like, but you might find it easier to make it a round number!

Can I add to my investment before the end of the share offer period?

Yes! You may simply make another bank transfer using your unique shareholder ID as the Personal Reference. You MUST use the same ID as before so that we can match your investments and record the correct total.

Can my investment be gift aided?

No, York Supplies Community Society Ltd. is not a charity so is not eligible to claim gift aid.

Can the value of my shares change?

Community shares do not change in value like stock market shares do. If you withdraw your shares, which we plan to make possible from Year 5, then you will receive no more than what you paid in originally.

Since we are purchasing a property, we do not expect that the value of shares will fall, but if the value of the property were to drop dramatically then that could also reduce the value of your share in it.

Can I sell my shares?

No. This investment is in withdrawable share capital which cannot be transferred, sold or given to anyone else, except on your death to someone you have nominated and told us about.

Can I withdraw my share capital?

In accordance with Rule 28, share withdrawals may be authorised at discretion of the Board, subject to three months’ notice, the financial performance of the business, and available funds. However, unless withdrawals amount to a significant sum, we will aim to repay shares within three months. All withdrawals will be paid in the order in which the notices were received by the Society. Shares cannot be withdrawn until Year 5 of the Society’s operation.

Is my money at risk?

Community Shares are a form of risk capital, but we believe that the risks in this instance are smaller than for other more speculative ventures.

We are buying a going concern with a successful business model, located in a significant piece of freehold property that should hold its value even without a business being present. We have considered all reasonable risks in our Risk Register, which also lists actions (mitigations) that could be taken to avoid or reduce the impact of event(s) that might give rise to business losses. 

We are receiving extensive and detailed business advice from Co-operative Futures as part of support from Co-operatives UK, who are the leading experts on co-operative ventures such as YSCSL. And our plans have been endorsed by the award of £300,000 of government money following a lengthy and detailed application process.

That said, we have the responsibility to inform you that, like many investments, community shares are at risk and you could lose some or all of the money you invest. 

As the Society confers limited liability, the most you could lose due to business failure would be your original investment. Although York Supplies Community Society Ltd (YSCSL) is registered as a society with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the sale of community shares is not regulated by the FCA. 

Unlike deposits with high street banks, community shares are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Since this offer is unregulated, you have no right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman or to compensation.

If you are considering investing a significant amount, or are in any doubt about what best to do, then you may wish to seek independent financial advice before doing so.

What if the community owned York Supplies fails?

If the Society ever runs into financial difficulty, it is possible that not all of the original investment could be repaid to shareholders. But we believe that insolvency is unlikely. York Supplies already has a proven and robust business model which has been trading successfully for 75 years. 

In the unlikely event of business failure, the ability of investors to recoup the funds they have invested would depend on the value we could realise for the assets of the Society and then on the value of our debts at that point. Anything remaining after paying any debt owed by the Society would be returned to shareholders in proportion to their investment, and any surplus left after that would have to be spent for community benefit. 

However, the majority of the funds raised through the share offer will be spent on buying a valuable piece of land, which will still have a value should the business cease trading. This is a protection against losing all your money. But there can be no guarantee.

What will you do with my personal details and data?

Your personal details as submitted on the application form will be held by the Society and used in accordance with the provisions of the rules and of the 2014 Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act. The Society will not share, sell or provide your details to any other individual or organisation and will ensure compliance with the European GDPR regulation in accordance with its responsibility as a data controller. Our privacy policy is available on the website.

Do my shares give me voting rights?

Yes. One Member one vote. Everyone has an equal voice, regardless of the size of their investment.

How much interest will I get?

The maximum interest payable is 3%, but it may be less and will be dependent on trading and reserves.

After completion of three full years of trading, and if the business is running successfully and has sufficient surpluses, we hope to be able to pay annual interest on Members’ shares. The Board will submit a recommendation regarding interest payments on shares for the approval of the Annual General Meeting.

By arrangement, small payments of interest of under £10 may be made through vouchers redeemable in York Supplies.

Am I entitled to any discounts or financial rewards?

No. We are not allowed to offer Members special discounts that are not available to the whole community although we will organise regular events and activities for Members.

I don’t want to buy shares, can I make a donation instead?

We will gratefully accept gifts of money to help with our target. Please contact us at or 0121 630 3678 or ask in the shop.

Who is organising all this?

A group of committed customers of York Supplies. We have a range of relevant skills and have been working together for some months to bring about the buyout. You can find our biographies in the share offer document or here.

Local people began to organise for a buyout in summer 2022. A number of public meetings and consultations led to the creation of York Supplies Action Group with an elected Steering Committee. That Steering Committee established a Community Benefit Society called York Supplies Community Society Ltd (YSCSL), and is organising the share offer. 

A successful share offer will be followed by the first AGM of YSCSL, to which all Members will be invited. That meeting will elect a Board of Directors for YSCSL, whereupon the current Steering Committee will dissolve itself and York Supplies Action Group, and will hand over to the new Board management and administration responsibilities for YSCSL trading as York Supplies Community Co-op.

Steering Committee members will be present at various events promoting the share offer during the period that it is open, and will be happy to chat. If you have any specific questions about or for any of the committee members, please email us at

How can I ask questions about the share offer?

In addition to maintaining our usual market stalls around the area, we will be organising a number of information events during the period of the share offer, which will be open for anyone to attend. We are planning to hold some physical events but may also arrange one or more online meetings. At all meetings members of the Steering Committee will be present to explain our thinking. Sign up to our mailing list on the website to be informed about the dates of these events.

You are also welcome to email us at, or ask in the shop.

In summary, what will I get as a Member?

Where can I find out more?

To protect yourself and find out more you are encouraged to follow these links to read the Society’s rules, and you should read the full business plan before investing.

If you have any specific questions that we can help with, please do contact us on, or if necessary on  0121 630 3678, and we will come back to you as soon as we can. You are also welcome to ask or leave a message in the shop.