Zion Community Space becomes community owned thanks to crowdfunding campaign and vital Government funding

Much loved community space Zion has become fully community-owned following a crowdfunding campaign, vital Government funding and months of work to secure the community hub in Bedminster Down.

Last year, Zion’s future was uncertain with the landlord seeking to sell the building. The community was given the opportunity to buy the building so the team at Zion could continue the work of the once-derelict chapel, but now buzzing community space offering more than 200 activities and events each year, as well as a popular cafe.

The community came together to crowdfund an incredible £230,000 in community shares to cover 50% of the capital and secure the buildings future. But the team at Zion wanted to be fully community-owned from day one, so they were overjoyed to be awarded the remaining capital from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund meaning they didn’t need the extra financial pressure of a commercial mortgage. Zion became a fully community-owned asset on 12th May 2023.

Zion’s ownership has now been dispersed to the 345 shareholders that invested in the 14 week campaign run on Crowdfunder.co.uk. The campaign was also backed by Bristol City Council, Sovereign Housing, Co-operatives UK, Power to Change, Nisbet Trust, Quartet Community Foundation & John James Bristol Foundation.

The money has been used to buy the building from the previous landlord so that Zion can continue to support the community. Over the winter it has been a Warm Space and offered further cost of living support. The current team will continue this work and open up applications to shareholders to become Directors on the Board of the Community Benefit Society later this year at it’s first AGM.

The share offer laid out plans to the convert the residential building at the back of the property into meeting rooms, offices and smaller spaces for the community to use. Diversifying Zion’s offer but also bringing in new revenue streams. Zion has already completed this work and these rooms are now available to hire, including the Andy Lewis Community Room named in memory of late Zion Director Andy Lewis.  Andy was passionate about Bedminster Down and its community and was an essential driving force in securing Zion’s future.

Speaking about the conversion to a community owned asset, Zion’s Centre Manager Emma Moore said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in the purchase, the Community Shareholders, the grant organisations involved, local businesses, staff, Directors and everyone in Bedminster Down and the wider area who come to Zion and support us daily. We’re all really excited for the future.”.

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