Powering-up Communities – FREE training and mentoring available

14 February, 2015 Leave a comment

Not-for-profit community groups in Cornwall are being invited to ‘power-up’ with the skills they need to build their membership and enjoy the environmental, social and financial benefits of delivering green energy projects thanks to a pioneering new training programme.

The “Powering-up Communities” programme offers a series of six workshops on a range of subjects, from setting up a group right through to raising funds to bring a renewable energy project to fruition.

The programme will be delivered by Community Energy Plus, supported by Kabin – the independent Co-operative development body for Cornwall.

In addition to the workshops, experts from both organisations will provide mentoring support tailored to the needs of participating groups – whatever their stage of development.

The training programme will help groups to guide the development of sustainable energy activities in their local area and will include talks by experts, workshops and supporting materials. Community Energy Plus and Kabin have extensive experience in this area and can guide groups through the necessary governance structures, planning process, community engagement activities, procurement and delivery of renewable energy projects, including the mechanisms for claiming the feed-in-tariff and ring-fencing community benefit funds for future generations.

There will be six workshops held over a period of two months. All of the workshops will be delivered twice across venues in mid and north Cornwall, starting in Truro on 7th March and in Bodmin on 14th March.

Funding for the “Powering-up Communities” programme has been provided by energyshare.

Full details of workshop dates and booking forms are available online at www.cep.org.uk/powering-up-communities

For further information please call 01872 245566 or email community@cep.org.uk

Community projects supported by Cornwall’s green loan fund

27 September, 2013 Leave a comment
Renewable energy projects set up with the aim of benefiting local communities have been successful in applying for a loan to make their schemes a reality.

Schemes in Gorran, Halvasso, Helford and St Enoder will borrow a total of around £500,000 from a revolving loan fun administered by The Low Carbon Society and supported by the Council’s Green Cornwall programme.

By producing their own energy the groups can ensure their local communities, as well as others across Cornwall, will reap the rewards of the revenue generated. Together, the four schemes will provide enough energy to power around 145 homes and the potential to generate more than £3.75m over the next 20 years.

Councillor Julian German, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Economy and Culture, said: “The money that comes from these schemes remains local, this represent a very different model from other renewable energy developments.

“In the longer term, it is hoped that more schemes like this will create a Cornish energy market where local supply can start to meet local demand. This is not as far away as people might think, and could start to really transform the problems that many people in Cornwall are facing with ever rising fuel bills.

“I am delighted that Cornwall Council is helping to make these loans possible, enabling our communities to help themselves.”

As initial construction costs for renewable energy schemes are high, but pay for themselves over a short period of time, the revolving loan fund provides groups with access to capital funds.

In addition to repaying their loans, community groups will be able to spend money generated by their schemes in ways that benefit their local communities.

In partnership with Kabin and Community Energy Plus, the Council worked with The Low Carbon Society to develop a viable and sustainable fund – the first of its kind supported by a local authority in England and Wales.

Paul Martin, from The Low Carbon Society, said; “Cornwall has a history of exporting our skills, resources and the fruits of our labour whilst retaining little economic benefit. We have excellent natural resources and it seems fair that the people of Cornwall should share in the benefits that come from these resources. The total spent in the Duchy on energy is £1.4 billion each year and at least 98% of this spend leaves the Duchy. Given that Cornwall has some of the best natural resources in terms of wind, sun, hydro and heat energy it seems only fair that a greater proportion of the economic benefit from these resources is retained in Cornwall.

“We are glad to be making these loans after a rigorous loan review process and are grateful that the Council has made a credit facility available to us. These loans are a key element to enable communities to hold energy assets in common ownership, benefit local people and keep money in Cornwall.”

Working under the umbrella of Community Power Cornwall, three schemes have been successful in applying to the revolving loan fund. Community Power Cornwall was set up to develop and operate small to medium scale community energy installations and has made successful loan fund applications for:

St Goran parish – the funds will be used to replace a short term bridging loan on two 80kW wind turbines in Gorran and release revenue to support the development of existing and emerging community energy schemes across Cornwall. Using their share of the income to help local projects, Transition St Goran has given funds to help improve insulation at Gorran Haven Memorial Hall, as well as replace floodlights at St Just Church in Gorran Haven.

Halvasso – funding has been awarded to build a 10kW wind turbine at BF Adventure’s Goodygrane Activity Centre at Halvasso, near Longdowns. The charity runs activity sessions and breaks for disadvantaged, disaffected and disabled young people across Cornwall and the turbine will help reduce the energy bills.

St Enoder – the development at St Enoder is a joint venture between CPC and the landowner to build a 100kW wind turbine at Glebe Farm. Under the plans, a proportion of the revenue will be given to the charity Pentreath Industries.

A loan in principle has also been agreed with Helford Energy Society, an independent community energy cooperative established to benefit people around the Helford River area. The group is aiming to build a micro wind turbine.

“It is exciting to know that a long-term loan for the Gorran turbines has been offered which will enable CPC to realise more ambitious plans for community energy across Cornwall in the near future,” said Ella Westland, from Transition St Goran. “As secretary to Transition St Goran’s Low Carbon Fund Grants Panel, I am hugely grateful for all the incredible work of the energy co-op and the funds that it provides.

“The grants that we can give to small projects in our neighbourhood not only save carbon and help to develop community amenities: in addition, every time we distribute the grants, local people think about what carbon saving means in practice, understand that these community owned turbines are different and see how they increase local resilience.

“I feel privileged to have been involved in the project’s early stages and greatly look forward to watching its development.”

“We are really excited by what we will be able to do with our loan and very happy that our application has been approved,” said Neil Farrington of Community Power Cornwall.

“Our turbine at Halvasso is only very small but it will enable our energy co-operative to supply electricity to BF Adventure at about a third of the retail rate. This is a clear example of how community ownership can create significant and immediate benefits for local people. CPC exists to create social, environmental and economic benefits; each Kilowatt of generation capacity that we bring into community ownership furthers that mission.”

The Low Carbon Society and Cornwall Council aim to run a second round inviting applications to the loan fund at the end of the year.

For more information email hello@thelowcarbonsociety.org

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Ethical Consumer launches essay competition on co-operative alternatives to capitalism

20 July, 2012 Leave a comment

Building on previous work on Co-op Capitalism by Professor Noreena Hertz, Co-operatives UK is pleased to support a new essay prize and crowd-sourcing website launched by Ethical Consumer, the UK’s leading alternative consumer organisation.

What would the world be like if most businesses were co-operatives? Would it be fairer and more sustainable? And what would it take to get to that place? The new Ethical Consumer competition site has been established to explore these ideas at a time when serious questions are being asked about our current economic model.

Users can submit 200 word ideas on what one thing would create a more co-operative economy and click on your favourite ideas to vote them up a list.

And people can win up to £1,500 in an essay competition addressing the question: ‘Is there a co-operative alternative to capitalism?’.

The competition seeks to provoke debate about what the world would look like if the size of the co-operative sector grew considerably.

The project has been created by Ethical Consumer, a UK-based co-operative, to coincide with the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.

According to Rob Harrison of ethical Consumer, project co-ordinator:

“One of our goals at Ethical Consumer is to promote environmentally sustainable business models. Our research has shown that co-ops often – but not always – lead their sectors in responsible business practices. Understanding more about this, and about how to build the sector, could hold the key to some of the most pressing problems of our era.”

The project is keen to encourage participation and is open to everyone from university professors to shop-floor workers.

The closing date for entries is 5 October 2012 with the prizes announced at Co-operatives United, the culminating event of the International Year of Co-operatives in Manchester on 29 October.

Prize partners include Co-operatives UK, New Internationalist and Unicorn Grocery.

The main website is at: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/co-operativealternative.aspx

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Fun Coop Vid

10 January, 2012 Leave a comment
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Business Advisor – SFEDI Accredited.

11 December, 2011 Leave a comment

Well done to Clayton Elliott, one of our business advisors, for being re-accredited with the SFEDI Business Advisor Award.

SFEDI is the Government recognised UK Standards Setting Body for Business Support and Business Enterprise.

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Growing your co-operative – Bristol, Friday 11 November, 10.30am-4pm

28 October, 2011 1 comment

For all new or established co-operatives and mutuals, or for people /organisations thinking of setting one up.

Last year’s conference was a big success and a full house – so book early for this year’s FREE event.  With a keynote speech from Kerry McCarthy MP for East Bristol, case histories from Essential Trading and Sparks Inc, refreshments from Runcible Spoon – and plenty of time for networking with like minded people!  The event will round off with our AGM.  For fuller details, see attachment (contact us if you would like a leaflet posted to you). To book your place, simply call 01752 822261 or email info@cooperatives-sw.coop

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UK’s 2012 International Year of Co-operatives website goes live

24 October, 2011 Leave a comment

Co-operatives UK has today launched the UK’s website for the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives 2012 – www.uk.coop/2012.

The website provides information on what is happening across the country and features a range of useful resources about co-operatives and the International Year for businesses, individuals, journalists and all those interested in learning more.

Also available on the website is a UK identity mark for the International Year. Developed by The Co-operative Group and Co-operatives UK, it can be downloaded in various formats by co-operative businesses and supporters for use in communications and campaigns during the International Year.

In addition, toolkits and leaflets can now be ordered from the site. A range of materials will be added over the coming months – case studies, images and films – which businesses and supporters can use to make the most of the International Year.

The 2012 website also provides extensive links to other activities and sites across the world, including a feed to the Global News Hub and a forthcoming link to www.stories.coop, a new International Co-operative Alliance initiative which is due to go live at the start of 2012.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “2012 is a unique opportunity. We’d love to see everyone in the sector – and beyond – make it a co-operative year by promoting their co-operative values.

This new website will help businesses and individuals make the most of it – an online events map, useful resources to order or download and links to what else is happening. It will be an online hub for everyone in the UK involved or interested in the International Year of Co-operatives.”

To find out more, please visit the website www.uk.coop/2012

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