Posts Tagged ‘swansea’
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 http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/seedeis. 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 http://egni.coop/join-egni-coop/documents/“
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 www.egni.coop, or phone 01639 830870.
It’s Co-operatives Fortnight and Co-operative Congress is only 48 hours away! It’s timely, therefore, to remember the role that credit unions play as community finance co-operatives. Our ‘Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion’ project has been supporting a scheme that involves Swansea Council and the local credit union, offering customers a rent account, that will help people to manage their money in the face of challenges from Welfare Reform. Swansea Council has provided the following update…
The introduction of Universal Credit (UC) in October 2013 will mean that thousands of council tenants, who currently have their Housing Benefit paid directly into their Council Rent account, will have to manage paying their rent instead. Credit Unions have widely been promoted by the Government as a good way of supporting tenants through Welfare Reforms to manage their finances and ensure that their rent is paid.
Swansea Council has therefore joined up with Loans and Savings Abertawe (LASA) Credit Union to offer a scheme to support its tenants to pay their rent. The scheme also focuses on identifying and supporting tenants who may be facing financial difficulties as a result of Welfare Reform.
The scheme was initially developed to support tenants with the transition to direct rent payments under Universal Credit, however it was agreed that the scheme could also be used to support tenants affected by the introduction of the under-occupation rules which came into effect in April this year.
Since April, officers within the Rents Team have been working with new tenants at sign up to determine if this scheme is suitable for them. A special application pack has also been developed to explain the scheme and ensure that they understand how it will operate. This has included discussions with tenants who are affected by the under-occupations charge and who may be facing financial difficulties. The scheme has also been marketed in Open House, the newsletter for council tenants.
Whilst there has been some interest in the scheme to date, it is still early in terms of tenants adjusting to making the under-occupation shortfall payments. It is anticipated that as tenants assess their ability to manage the shortfall over the coming months, they may consider the CU rent account as an option. It is further anticipated that by growing the scheme slowly and working with the Credit Union to develop capacity, it will be ready to support those tenants, who in far greater numbers, will be affected by the roll out of Universal Credit.
Tomorrow (June 27th), Jocelle Lovell and Paul White of the Wales Co-operative Centre’s ‘Tackling Homelessness through Financial Inclusion’ (THFI) team will be running a fringe seminar at the Shelter Cymru conference ‘People & Homes 2013′ that is being held at the Swansea Marriott. For more details on their work, including the ‘THFI toolkit’ visit the Wales Co-operative Centre website.