Chris Crookall-Fallon is to take over from Jane Stephenson as the new Chair of BWCE. We hear from Chris about his previous involvement with BWCE and on his thoughts for the future.

Dear BWCE Members

I feel very privileged to take on the role of Chair of your Society, following Jane’s term in office. On behalf of the whole board I thank Jane for her diligent, effective and enthusiastic Chairing and for her support for BWCE over many years. I’ll do all I can to live up to the example she’s set.

I was first involved in BWCE around the time of its formation in 2010, through my work in Transition Corsham’s energy group. I was a keen supporter of the Society from the start, because I could see there was something special in its leadership, team and supporters. That special something was BWCE’s unique combination of enthusiasm for, and commitment to, the ethos and vision of community ownership, coupled to ambition, professionalism and commercial realism. That special combination is what has taken BWCE such a long way, led to so much success, and is what continues to animate the business.

I first served on the board as a member-elected non-executive director between 2012 and 2016, and I was very pleased to be re-elected last year. Over several years I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of other community energy businesses – learning what makes them tick, their challenges, their scope for growth and how they can improve. I hope those insights will complement the fantastic range of skills, experience and perspectives already evident on your board.

BWCE is much more than just a business, and your role as Members is much more than just shareholding. Thank you for helping to shape, continuing to support, and staying committed to, BWCE’s mission. What BWCE does, and the example it gives, has never been more important. We’re in the fight of our lives to minimise future climate breakdown, but it is essential that the transition to a low carbon future delivers social justice and fairness alongside carbon reduction. Indeed, I believe that without delivering social justice, the transition to a low carbon future won’t succeed. The community energy movement is showing how to do it, and BWCE has an important role in the movement.

This year we’ve decided to add a Deputy Chair (Sonya Bedford) to the Chairing function, to broaden Pete’s access to support, and to reflect the time-limited, volunteer nature of the Chair and Deputy Chair posts. So, I’m looking forward enormously to working alongside Pete, Sonya, the rest of the board and all BWCE’s talented staff, in continuing to deliver BWCE’s exciting vision.

Best wishes

“It was wonderful to be able to welcome Chris back as a director again last year, and now to be able to welcome him as chair at our AGM in September. Chris was an early director of BWCE and has also worked with us as a partner on a number of projects since, so he knows us well. He brings a wealth of energy knowledge and expertise, a strong commitment to co-operative working and a lovely calm and deliberative approach. I’m looking forward to working with Chris (and Sonya as our new deputy chair) on the next phase of our journey.”

Pete Capener, Managing Director