This paper is the first of two reports by Co-operatives UK reviewing the community shares market. The community shares investment model has become a popular approach to raising finance and since 2012, £155 million has been raised by over 103,000 people to save and create more than 440 vital spaces and services. This report comprises of community shares data to date and responses of a detailed survey of 104 societies and 534 community shares investors. The report reveals that community shares, create and sustain successful business, make investment accessible and have the potential to reduce inequalities and level-up society. The report also highlights the key role institutions, funders and government play in growing the community shares market.