Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Posts Tagged ‘community shares

Egni Co-operative Share Offer – co-operative energy generation in the community

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Egni Co-operative Share Offer - co-operative energy generation in the community

Egni Co-operative was established by Awel Aman Tawe, a community renewable energy charity in South Wales, with the purpose of placing Solar PV panels on community buildings. To raise the necessary funds, Egni launched a share offer in the Senedd on February 6th which has raised £55,000 since its launch. The share offer runs until April 3rd.

In this guest blog, Dan McCallum from Egni explains more:

“At Awel Aman Tawe we work to raise awareness of clean, renewable, sustainable energy sources, and promote their use throughout the local community.

It’s the sort of project we all want to see – solar panels on key local community buildings. We surveyed about 35 buildings in total and chose the best ones for the project. There are 7 community buildings making up the project, and we’re seeking to fund the capital costs from a co-operative share offer.

Some of these buildings are well known social enterprises. Dove Workshop in Banwen and Glynneath Training Centre both offer training, community cafes, a crèche and a local hub. Perhaps less well known is Brynaman Public Hall and Institute – funded by the miners in the 1920s, run by volunteers, and now housing the largest cinema screen in Wales, alongside the most fantastic Art Deco interior.

All the buildings will benefit from free electricity from the panels, which will also save more than 1000 tonnes of CO2 over the project lifetime.

So why have we formed as a co-operative? There are several reasons. There has been a great increase in energy co-ops in England and Scotland which we’ve been able to learn from. That has been because public grants cannot pay for panels as it would disqualify the scheme from the Feed-in Tariff(FiT) . Co-operatives which raise money from the general public can benefit from the FiT, as the money generated from them comes back into the co-operative for the benefit of the members.

Setting up as a co-operative also means Egni will be run on a one member, one vote basis, This gives everyone who invests in the project an equal say in how it is managed, no matter how much they initially put in. Also, co-operatives, unlike charities, were able to pre-register for the FiT and have the rate maintained for a year. Egni took advantage of this by registering all the sites in June 2013 which means that we can take advantage of the higher rates that were available at that time.

We also want people in Wales to make more use of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme. More details can be found on the HMRC website Last week, we had the great news that our application for pre-registration for SEIS has been approved by HMRC. Tax relief is not just for the wealthy – it is likely to apply to many share applicants who are taxpayers. In short, your investment may significantly reduce your income tax bill. Here’s how it can work:

In this example, Jenny is a qualifying taxpayer who invests £1,000 in SEIS qualifying shares. The SEIS relief available is £500 (£1,000 at 50%). If her income tax liability for the year (before SEIS relief) was, for example, £4,000, she could reduce it to £3,500 as a result of her investment.

This is your chance to invest in something Welsh, sustainable and democratic. Egni is about bringing local communities together, to invest in green technology that will bring great benefits to those communities for years to come. If you’d like to play a part in that, then you can download our Share Offer Document and application form at

Dan McCallum, Director of Egni Cydweithredol Cyfyngedig Ltd

Egni is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as an Industrial and Provident Society, Registration Number 32008R.

For more information on Egni, visit, or phone 01639 830870.


Community Shares Handbook will help advisers to champion the community shares approach

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The Community Shares Unit ran a series of free workshops in November to showcase the forthcoming Community Shares Handbook. Jan Barwell, Development Officer on the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Social Enterprise Support project, went along to find out more…

“The Community Shares Handbook is one of several tools and resources that helps advisers to champion the community shares approach and disseminate best practice. I attended the Bristol workshop on the 26th Nov 2013 at Triodos Bank, which covered key areas of guidance which will be included in the handbook. These include legal form, share typology, offer documents and financial returns, along with other topics. Advisers contributed their opinions and experience allowing the CSU to capture this knowledge so they can ensure that theory meets practice!

The Community Shares Unit is a dedicated support service for those interested in and involved with community share offers. Delivered by Co-operatives UK and Locality and backed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, they have developed a website as a valuable resource for anyone interested in community shares.  It offers advice pages for;

  • community enterprises considering or developing share offers
  • supporters who are interested in purchasing shares
  • advisers who provide support and assistance to enterprises considering and developing share offers

The website includes;

  • information on the activities and the team involved with the Community Shares Unit
  • Microgenius, their new online tool to help societies co-ordinate share offers on the web

CSU works with partners to develop standards of good practice, encourage policy reforms and raise awareness to support the growth of community shares. It acts a central reference point for market intelligence, providing the latest information on community share activities nationwide, as well as producing regularly-updated guidance materials. The unit also operates as a dynamic hub for support, building relationships with networks and organisations to signpost communities, investors and other interested parties to the most appropriate forms of advice and assistance to develop new share offers and support existing ones. Finally, it acts as a strong platform for profiling the community share model, raising awareness of the value of the approach to new entrants and facilitating peer support and networking to those already involved in community shares.”

For further information visit

Written by Catherine Evans

December 3, 2013 at 10:04 am – the marketplace for community shares

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The, a small Co-operative Development Body (CDB) based in south Wales has recently set up a new website aimed at helping new and growing co-ops with their Community Share Issues.

Alex Bird, one of the partners in the co-op, realised after working with a number of community co ops trying to finance projects through share issues, that whilst they could market themselves easily to local people, communicating to the wider public wasn’t easy on a small budget. He and his colleagues have worked with community shops, community centres, pubs, football and rugby clubs, festivals, food co ops, bike shops, off-road cycle centres, recycling projects, gyms and energy co ops, and all had difficulty marketing their share issues. Many didn’t proceed with a share issues because they couldn’t see how they would get sufficient share sales and the activists involved looked to other sources of finance such as grants and loans.

Some projects they’ve worked with have been very creative in their share issues, linking up with credit unions and CDFIs to enable people to get lines of credit or save up to buy shares, but they still find it difficult to contact their diaspora, and you can only raise so much from local people.

Many projects have a wider appeal than just their immediate neighbourhood, and there is a large body of people across the UK and further afield who don’t have a project nearby but would like to support one. Real ale pubs, vegetarian and vegan shops, football clubs, and of course ecological and green energy projects are examples of projects with a broader appeal, but many such projects weren’t getting through to their potential share buyers, and at times weren’t hitting their finance raising targets.

After many discussions about who wasn’t doing what and whose job it was to sort out this problem, and why “they” should be doing it, did what co-operators always do in the end – got on with it themselves.

Using the well-known open source software from WordPress and with the help of Co-operatives UK Internet Services they have set up a .coop site from their own resources.

The new website is up and running at and features all the Community Share Issues they know about free of charge in a classified style listing, plus lots of advice and guidance. The site is presently entirely self-funding, although as it develops they hope to bring some sponsorship on board in order to raise income and grow the site, so they offer paid for features as well as the basic free listing.

Help them improve their SEO and get up the Google ratings by visiting the site, telling your friends, blogging, tweeting and linking your website to theirs.

• Cost to you £0
• Principle 6 credibility – Priceless

Written by Mark Smith

March 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm

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