Headlines: September 25th, 2007

Two years after the first community interest companies were founded they are delivering an increasing range of services and ploughing profits back into the community. The companies are pursuing social objectives and contributing to the success of the social enterprise movement and its expansion.

More than 1200 registered community interest companies now provide a wide range of services. They include community groups working with local authorities. They generate profits to support a community purpose, such as charity shops or carry out activities which are in themselves a community purpose, such as day care centres for the elderly. Example of companies include Catch 22 Magazine, a journalism-training academy that showcases the talent of aspiring professionals, Hackney Co-operative Developments, a community benefit company providing support to small businesses and voluntary groups, and Striding Out, a support community for social and ethical entrepreneurs.

Community Interest Companies are limited companies with special additional features, created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not purely for private advantage. The legal form aims to meet the needs of organisations which trade with a social purpose and it is particularly attractive to those organisations who wish to enjoy the benefits of limited company status but are not able, or do not wish to become charities.

Growth of this type of company is expected to continue particularly in areas such as health, transport, education, children with special needs, pensioners, young people and environmental services.