FROM woodlands to wind farms, Stroud’s local independence has been acknowledged with the town being revealed as a hotspot for community activism.

The new research carried out by UK Co-operatives has ranked Stroud in the UK’s top ten areas where local people are most likely to buy and take ownership of key local assets.

As part of the Co-operative Fortnight awareness campaign, the figures estimated 700 people have invested in seven community share schemes, raising £500,000 in total. This brings the area in at seventh in the league of the UK’s community shares hotspots.

Stroud’s community share schemes include: Stroud Woodland Co-op- in which 64 people raised £32,000 for the local woodlands and Gloucestershire Community Energy, which raised £105,000 from 49 people to generate local renewable energy.

With seven community share schemes, Stroud ranked even higher than London and Brighton which both had six.

Ben Spencer of Stroud Woodland Co-op said: “Buying community shares in our woodland gave many local people the chance to do something they felt passionate about – looking after a wood with a group of like-minded people, learning new skills and having a great time.”

Co-operatives fortnight ran from Saturday, June 21 to Saturday, July 5. Working in partnership with Locality, Co-operatives UK monitors the country’s community shares schemes in which local people pool their resources in order to buy and run local enterprises co-operatively.