Our crowdfunding countdown is on to bring more clean energy to community buildings across Greater Bristol. An investment in our share offer (which ends 31 July) helps us to install solar panels on community roofs, and in turn, help those organisations save much-needed cash on their electricity bills.
We have already installed solar panels on Easton Community Centre, Brentry and Henbury Children's Centre. Just last month, we're happy to announce that Coniston Community Centre was added to this list.
We caught up with Emma Forsey, Community Centre manager to find out what this installation means to the centre and its users...
Our objective to help increase clean energy very much fits with Coniston's vision. The Centre opened in 2004, and then was extended in 2011 with Big Lottery Funding which placed a particular emphasis on sustainability. Emma said:
"The ethos of the Centre is to promote healthy living and lifestyles, and sustainability such as green energies. Our aim is to provide services for the community but to minimise our environmental impact. The objectives are threefold:
1. provide facilities and support in the interest of education and social welfare for the local community without discrimination
2. provide a safe space for the community
3 assist in the promotion of other charitable purposes."
How will the solar panels help Coniston Community Centre?
Emma told us:
"The savings on electricity bills from the solar panels will enable to us to upkeep the maintenance of the building. The older part of the Centre was built almost 12 years ago and, as our funding is limited, attention to it has been a luxury up until now.
"We also run and manage groups for the community aimed at a diverse audience, including a water-colour group, friendship and exercise club, and an LGBT brunch. It is an expense for us to run these clubs and we want to maintain them whilst keeping the costs low for the community. The money saved from the solar panels will help to protect these valuable community activities.
"The sun is not going anywhere! Therefore solar panels make sense in terms of longevity. It helps us focus on our priorities for the community, because we're not forking out to the "fat cats"; we're meeting the needs of the people through community-powered energy."
"Money is tight, and as it's a small team, staff are extremely busy. Spinning plates is a daily task for me and my fellow manager, Barbara Ball. Therefore we were worried that we would not have time to organise the solar panels. But Chris from BEC and the Ecocetera team were amazing and so patient. It all seemed to just happen!"
Can you help us power the community?
We're drawing on people-power to install solar panels on more community roofs like Coniston. We're a not-for-profit, so excess funds are invested back into the community. In addition to the savings which can be made by the community buildings, in our current fund-raise, £70,000 each year will be put into a community fund for local projects for 25 years.
Can you spare £50 or more? Find out how to invest in our solar fund-raise on ethical investment site, Ethex. Hurry, offer ends 31 July.