The Community Landlord

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 Charitable Community Benefit Society (registered Exempt Charity with HMRC). It is currently has over 8000 community non-profit making shareholders from across the UK and indeed the world! This incredible society owns 128 acres of Fordhall Organic Farm, making it England’s first community-owned farm in 2006.

Ben Hollins is the tenant of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative. Ben lives in the farmhouse and manages the organic farmland and livestock onsite. The farm shop and catering trailers are a standard commercial business run by Ben and his staff team, from which he pays the rent to the community society.

Simultaneously, the Fordhall Community Land Initiative as the landlord is also utilising the land around the working farm for the benefit of the local and wider community.

The Fordhall Community Land Initiative operates from the site the cafe (Arthur’s Farm Kitchen), youth project, care farm, school visits, volunteering opportunities, weddings, farm trails, youth or retreat residentials from the Straw Lodge, glamping in the yurts, group visits and tours social prescribing, and a myriad of activities and events throughout the year.

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 Organic Farm from development and to utilise the land for community and environmental benefit.

The community benefit society structure (previously Industrial and Provident Society) allows shares to be sold to the general public. The shares are completely non-profit making. They can be returned to the Society 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:

  1. To ensure permanently affordable access to the farm for farmers and the community.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 

Get Involved

To become part of Fordhall Community Land Initiative you can buy shares and become one of our landlords (minimum investment £50 – 50x£1 community shares).  New members are always welcome, growing our Fordhall family and helping us to achieve our vision.  You can even buy a share as an ecologically and socially responsible gift!

Click here to find out more about our shares.

Our finances and Annual Returns

Click on the links below to see a summary of our annual finances, as well as an update on the all the wonderful work of our projects throughout the year and our plans for the current year. If you would like more back copies, just get in touch!

2022        2021       2020        2019

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!

Shropshire Life Magazine 2010

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

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!