These notes are from Nicola's EEBE Roadshow Workshop
As an incorporated body you can raise money by issuing shares. There are two forms of Industrial and Provident Societies – a Co-operative society exists for the benefit of its members and a Community Benefit Society (CBS) is for the benefit of the community. The latter can be a charity and is lightly regulated. A Co-operative pays dividends to its members but a CBS can pay interest on share capital. There is more about CBS and why Oxford North Community Renewables chose this form for their company here
Some other examples including a community owned pub and Bath and West Community Energy described here.
An easier way to incorporate, but without the charitable status, is as a Community Interest Company (CIC). This is a limited company that uses its assets for the benefit of the community rather than its shareholders. There is an asset lock that limits the amount of assets and profits which can be distributed to shareholders. This is an assurance to funding sources that the company is run as not for profit. More about this here