Fordhall Community Land Initiative
Proud to be community-owned
“The Fordhall Community Land Initiative reaffirms the relationship between the landscape and the way it shapes the prosperity of rural communities. It seeks to demonstrate that small-scale farming connected to the local community offers a viable way of life for generations to come.”
What’s it all about?
The Fordhall Community Land Initiative is an industrial and Provident Society with charitable status. It is currently owned by over 8000 shareholders from across the UK and indeed the world! This society owns Fordhall Organic Farm, making it England’s first community-owned farm in 2006.
Charlotte and Ben Hollins are now tenants of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative. Ben lives in the farmhouse and manages the farmland and the livestock. The farm shop and catering trailers are a commercial business run by Ben, from which he pays the rent and derives his income.
To hear about the structure from Charlotte – listen to this mp3 recording take in 2010 Listen Here
Our Legal Structure
The Fordhall Community Land Initiative is a charitable society set up for community benefit, established by Sophie Hopkins and Charlotte and Ben Hollins in 2005, alongside many other volunteers, to save Fordhall Farm from development. Fordhall had been chemical-free for over 65 years.
The initiative is incorporated as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) and is registered as an Exempt Charity with HMRC.
The IPS structure allows shares to be sold to the general public. The shares are completely non-profit making and cannot be traded on the open market. They can be returned to the initiative or passed down in a Will, but cannot be traded. This makes our society safe and secure to carry out the aims and objectives it was created to do.
The society has the following aims:
- To ensure permanently affordable access to the farm for farmers and the community.
- To advance education and provide facilities for recreation and other leisure time occupation in the interests of social welfare for the inhabitants of Market Drayton and the wider community, in organic farming methods, conservation, biodiversity, health, access, country life, heritage, wildlife and related subjects with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.
- To ensure farmland is managed sustainably for community benefit with the appropriate management for access, and to research sustainable farming through community land trusteeship, public involvement and other methods.
The full society rules can be downloaded by following the link FCLI Society Rules
How did we get there?
The fight for Fordhall Farm was a long and determined battle. You can click on the links below to read some articles from the press when we were raising our community shares in 2006:
The Guardian Dec 2002 – Ploughing on Regardless
The Daily Telegraph April 15th 2006 – The Fight for Fordhall Farm
BBC Breakfast News TV 30th June 2006 – Celebration Day!
Video – Learn about Fordhall’s Innovative Community Share Scheme
Listen here as some of our shareholders share the reasons why they purchased shares in Fordhall Farm (recorded in 2009)
Thinking about Community Shares for your community project?
A booklet has been written by Charlotte Hollins highlighting all the key points of the Fordhall Farm campaign. This is great if you are thinking of doing something similar yourselves and don’t know where to start!
How to set up a community-owned farm, by Charlotte Hollins
Plus the Community Shares Unit has created a Step-by-Step guide to community shares. Follow this link to find out if community shares are for you CLICK HERE
What do our shareholders say about Fordhall ten years on from the share offer?
We conducted a survey in 2007 to our membership. Our aim was to understand why they purchased shares and what their vision for Fordhall was.
Ten years on, we conducted a second survey. We wanted to know if our members were still engaged. Were they still as supportive and what impact was Fordhall having on their own contribution within their local community.
Follow the link to find out what they said: 8000 Shareholders Still Can’t Be Wrong!