Invest – Executive Summary
A dynamic new partnership between an organic farm and a business park, with social impacts that simply keep on growing.
This is an invitation to subscribe for shares in Stockwood Community Benefit Society (Stockwood CBS), established in December 2012. SCBS aim to raise £1 million towards the purchase into trust of Stockwood Business Park and Rush Farm near Redditch, Worcestershire, to create an asset which will benefit the local rural economy, community and environment in perpetuity. The purchase price for the estate is £2.63 million, and the balance of funds will be secured through loan finance.
Stockwood Business Park and Rush Farm are owned and managed by Elysia, a family partnership and business established by the Parsons, focused on ethical sourcing, manufacturing and retail. The Business Park is operated as a rural hub and generates rental income of £217,000 per annum. Rush Farm is a biodynamic organic farm with Natural England ‘High Level Stewardship’ status. It is open to the public via footpaths and visiting days promoting its values and has developed a highly significant role in influencing sustainable practice amongst tenants of the Business Park.
Through selling ownership of the Business Park and Farm to Stockwood CBS the Elysia Partnership seeks to ensure that these become protected community assets that will increase their social benefits in perpetuity. SCBS’s objects focus on inspiring, educating and engaging local people in biodynamic and organic farming and applying environmentally sustainable technologies and policies to itself and its tenant businesses. The Business Park, through an active Tenant ThinkTank, using a ten-point programme of measurable actions will change existing practices and grow the positive social impacts across the spectrum of businesses trading from it.
Stockwood CBS has the benefit of a key investor, namely the Bio-Dynamic Land Trust, an exempt charity which secures land into trust for bio-dynamic farming. The Trust will invest £150,000 into Stockwood CBS. In addition, Elysia itself is investing £300,000 as an interest-free loan.
Investors have the opportunity to invest between £100 and £20,000, with shares valued at £1 each. These shares can be withdrawn in accordance with Stockwood CBS’s rules, but not sold or exchanged and their value will not increase. Stockwood CBS expects to pay interest on shares, anticipated to be 5%, paid from Year 2 onwards. However, a return on your investment is not guaranteed and this should be regarded as a social, rather than a financial investment.
The current directors of Stockwood CBS include Sebastian and Adrian Parsons, who as CEO of Elysia and Estate Manager respectively, have owned and managed the Stockwood Estate for the last 7 years and therefore has detailed knowledge of the business and local market and Martin Large, CEO of the Bio-Dynamic Land Trust, who brings expertise in land trusteeship.
Stockwood Business Park and Rush Farm are trading profitably, and there is good potential for growth. The directors will not take a salary in the first year but Stockwood CBS will have other costs, including finance, marketing, property management, legal fees and administration.