Though we expect the surplus dedicated to community benefit to be modest from our two inaugural renewable energy schemes (approx. £40,000 spread over 20 years), this surplus nevertheless represents 20% of the total expected annual interest paid to Members. CEC aims to build up its portfolio of projects over the coming months and years, so that it can generate a greater community fund and deliver greater impact in Cumbria.
One of the key ambitions of Community Energy Cumbria is to ensure that a far greater proportion, if not all, of the expenditure and income from our renewable energy projects is kept revolving in Cumbria. As an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community, it is written in our Rules that a proportion of our surplus will be distributed amongst projects with social or environmental benefit within Cumbria. CEC wants to help build a legacy of thriving, involved, active and sustainable communities. The distribution process will place special emphasis on activities that encourage environmental and social progress in Cumbria in the following ways:
Supporting Energy Efficiency, Fuel Poverty & Low carbon Projects
Projects might include: delivering a programme of environmental activity delivered by CEC’s founding charity – Cumbria Action for Sustainability; supporting other communities to develop renewable energy projects; reducing home energy use by improving the fabric of people’s homes, draught stripping the homes of those in fuel poverty, helping find the best tariff and supporting the public with a range of advice and training; encouraging the use of sustainable building materials and techniques.
Supporting Young People
In many areas in Cumbria, particularly rural areas, opportunities for young people are limited, especially so for those who have recently left school or college. Our community benefit fund could be ploughed back into broadening young people’s horizons and providing experiences that enable them to pursue their ambitions. It could be used to support youth enterprise, apprenticeships and training, recreation and learning.
Supporting Vital Community Services
Fragile community services are often delivered by overstretched volunteers with underfunded budgets. The community benefit fund from CEC could help to support these services, be they health or transport or simply offering company to those most isolated or vulnerable.
Conservation, Wildlife Enhancement, Heritage & Recreation
Cumbria’s rich natural heritage is also a fragile one that needs looking after (hence CEC is committed to ecological and landscape protection). In areas where our projects are sited, then we may be able to provide funding for enhancing the natural and built heritage and supporting the enjoyment and understanding of these areas in a way that ensures their long term protection.
Your Society – So Your Vote Matters
Because Community Energy Cumbria Ltd is an Industrial and Provident Society, it means that whatever the size of your investment, everyone has one vote. CEC is keen that as many members get involved in the organisation, whether this means simply casting your vote at AGMs, serving as Board Members, spreading the word about CEC or even helping to bring further renewable energy projects forward to the Society.