PURE – the Clean Planet Trust, a carbon reduction charity, announced today it has secured a £1 million investment from Big Society Capital, which will enable PURE to fund up to 70 community energy projects, marking a significant milestone in its efforts to deliver a £7 million income boost to deprived communities across the UK.
Big Society Capital’s investment will be augmented by donations from companies such as Barclays and British Airways. PURE’s Community Energy Fund represents an innovative blueprint for combining social and private investment to benefit deprived communities and the environment.
The PURE Community Energy Fund provides low interest loans to community-led projects, enabling them to afford to set up small-scale renewable energy schemes.
To date, PURE has used funds from Big Society Capital to issue around £150,000 of low interest loans to five community based projects, including Fenham Swimming Pool in Newcastle and the Southmead Development Trust in Bristol (full details in notes to editors).
As well as reducing carbon emissions, the projects also provide a continuing income stream for their communities from energy savings and via the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The projects funded to date will reduce CO2 emissions by 1,200 tonnes and generate over £500,000 of new community revenues.
To celebrate this landmark investment PURE and Big Society Capital today hosted a joint reception at the Cabinet Office today addressed by Big Society Capital CEO Nick O’Donohoe and Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
In attendance were existing and potential new corporate investors, as well as representatives of community projects that have already received funding.
PURE CEO Robert Rabinowitz said: “This is a landmark day for Pure, and I’d like to thank Big Society Capital for recognising the value of the work Pure has done to date and investing in PURE’s massive potential to deliver real social and environmental benefits.
“I’m also proud of PURE’s record in ensuring that investment from the likes of Barclays and British Airways is maximised on the ground. Our innovative funding model ensures that we can provide at least £2 of funding to projects for each £1 that’s been donated. We’re sure that more corporate investors will follow suit and invest in new projects across the country.”
Big Society Capital’s CEO Nick O’Donohoe comments: “We are delighted to support PURE’s mission of utilising renewable energy to address social need. PURE’s innovative approach illustrates how Big Society Capital and social investment can work with major companies to deliver benefit to society.”
Nick Hurd Minister for Civil Society said: “Thanks to an investment commitment from Big Society Capital, PURE will now be able to fund up to 70 community energy projects across the country. This great carbon reduction project will deliver social as well as environmental benefits and make a real difference to deprived communities across the UK.
“Our priority is to build a bigger and stronger society and grow the economy. We set up Big Society Capital so that social enterprises and charities can get better access to finance so they can expand their services and develop better solutions to our social problems – today’s announcement is a great endorsement of this working in practice.”
British Airways’ Head of Environment Jonathon Counsell said: “We are delighted that Big Society Capital has invested in this important initiative. British Airways' customers who donate to our One Destination Carbon Fund can rest assured that their money is making a real difference in supporting environmentally friendly projects in communities across the UK."
Barclay’s Managing Director of Brand, Marketing and Citizenship David Wheldon said: “What is noteworthy about PURE’s model is that the results benefit both the community and the environment in a sustainable way. Barclays is delighted to support this innovative community finance model as part of our broader focus on social innovation. ”
For more information on PURE, its community based projects. investors and the Community Energy Fund model please visit www.puretrust.org.uk.