BWCE is a community business born out of discussions between local community groups, and as we’ve grown, we’ve kept local people’s interests firmly at our core.

We’re set up as a Community Benefit Society, meaning that all our surplus profits are reinvested in projects for local good – whether it’s fighting fuel poverty or reducing energy demand. 

We provide community benefit in several ways:

  • Through our Community Fund – known as the BWCE Fund – and other charities, which have received £290,000 from us to date to provide grants for environmental projects in local communities.
  • Through ensuring that between 30-40% of our income (£500,000 in 2018-19) re-circulates in the local economy, bringing about subsequent economic benefits due to the Local Multiplier Effect.
  • Through our development work, which supports community groups and parish councils to set up renewable energy projects for community benefit.
  • Through our Supporters Network, which builds awareness around community energy and its benefits and engages people in action to build the community energy movement locally.
  • Through our information resources and events, which boost local skills and knowledge around community energy.
  • And, ultimately, through building a resilient and sustainable community energy infrastructure, based on local ownership and control, which can better withstand shocks in the wider energy system and economy.

BWCE Fund

BWCE Fund supports local community projects that target carbon reduction and/or fuel poverty. BWCE has given the fund and other charitable organisations £290,000 to date with the vast majority distributed in grants to support local community action. Scroll down to see a list of previously funded projects.

The fund is now closed to applications and will open again in September 2023.

You can read the 2022 guidelines below but please be aware these might be amended for 2023.

Fund guidelines 2022

Projects funded

The BWCE Fund has supported local food production, energy efficiency in buildings, re-use and recycling, fuel poverty programmes, low carbon transport, schools projects, water conservation, energy audits and advice.

The BWCE Fund is funded from surplus income from BWCE and donations from BWCE members. Surplus income is that which is left over after the company’s running expenses (for example repayment of bank loans, premises costs and staff costs) and members’ interest has been paid. The amounts allocated to the BWCE Fund is approved by members at each AGM. It is intended that, should our generating capacity targets be met,  there will be increasing amounts passed to the BWCE Fund for distribution.

The overall aim of the BWCE Fund is to support projects which will help reduce the impact of peak oil, climate change and fuel poverty in Bath and surrounding areas. It does this by providing grant funding to local projects that meet the selection criteria. Project proposals have to demonstrate that they promote environmental sustainability, low or zero use of energy and/or alleviate fuel poverty. Emphasis is on practical projects that lead to real community benefits.

The Bath & West Low Carbon Community Fund (operating as the BWCE Fund) is registered as an independent Registered Charity Number 1156710 by the Charity Commissioners. Information on the charity trustees can be found here. The fund is administered by The Quartet Community Foundation 

Projects Funded by Year

2022

£31,706 awarded to 11 projects. Plus £5000 to South Dartmoor Community Energy to fund local projects.

2021

£33,300 awarded to 11 projects. Plus £3000 to South Dartmoor Community Energy to fund local projects.

2020

£28,370 awarded to 9 projects.

2019

£31,204 awarded to 11 projects.

2018

£27,500 awarded to 10 projects.

2017

£40,543 awarded to 12 projects.

2016

£45,000 awarded to 11 projects

2015

£19,940 awarded to 7 projects.

BWCE Fund Trustees

The BWCE Fund is independently run by a group of volunteer trustees. The fund’s board of trustees is supported by the Quartet Foundation who provide administrative support to the process of grant making.

Pete Capener

Position: Trustee

Pete has worked in the sustainable energy field for over 35 years. He led the early growth of the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol where he was Chief Executive. Since resigning from CSE in 2002 due to family illness, Pete worked as an independent advisor on a range of energy efficiency, renewable energy and fuel poverty projects with a strong focus on community action at both local and national level. He is Deputy Chair of Community Energy England, a non exec director of RenewEV and a trustee of Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Pete Capener

Trustee

 

David Daniels

Position: Trustee

David Daniels lives and works in Bath and is the managing director of the MannionDaniels Group working on international health, social development and fund management. This includes managing global challenges funds on behalf of the UK and other European governments and Foundations, providing grants to civil society organisations working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

David has worked for more than 30 years on international development and humanitarian assistance in Africa and Asia and is a great believer in locally led solutions to community development. With colleagues from around the world he recently co-founded AmplifyChange a challenge fund for advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

David Daniels

Trustee

 

Leigh Fairbrother

Position: Trustee

Leigh has spent the past 8 years developing and delivering renewable energy projects with measurable environmental, social and economic benefits. Having worked with, or for energy suppliers, price comparison websites, charities, Local Authorities, and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) he has been able to increase energy switching rates and reduce fuel poverty.

In 2013, after becoming aware of the inequalities in the domestic energy market, he co-founded Community Switch, a price comparison service specifically designed to increase consumer engagement with RSL tenants. His work has helped over 50,000 households reduce their domestic energy bills and save several million pounds. Leigh has worked on projects for DECC and the NEA and is a mentor with ‘The Future Leaders – Utilities Mentoring network’, a volunteer for Raleigh International and is passionate about the transition to a smarter, greener, more sustainable energy future.

Leigh Fairbrother

Trustee

 

Simon Forsyth

Position: Secretary

Simon stumbled into environmental management in 1989 by offering to look after a paper- recycling bin. After that, things rather ran away with themselves. He helped set up Green Teams at Hewlett Packard in Bristol, ran them for five years, then became HP Ltd’s full-time environmental specialist. He left in 2000 to run a small consultancy, went on to run the Econet in-work training project, helped deliver the southwest-wide Envision programme, established a number of small business Resource Efficiency Clubs, trained a lot of Trading Estates, and now focuses on business linkages between cost-intensity, carbon-intensity, and profitability. To condense all this into something usable, he produces simplifying software, the dataCollator

Simon Forsyth

Secretary

 

Sheila Gundry

Position: Trustee

Sheila has been living in Bath and working for South West environmental organisations for 20 years. As one of the management team at Bath Environment Centre / Envolve, she worked on strategic & financial planning, and schools & youth work programmes. Subsequently, at the ethical consultancy Resource Futures, she managed a range of environmental education contracts, including the schools’ energy efficiency contract for B&NES Council and for Devon County Council.

She is a Fellow of the National Association for Environmental Education, a Director of the South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition and a core group member for Bath Orchardshare. Sheila has been a committed member of BWCE since its early days.

Sheila Gundry

Trustee

 

Sophie Hooper Lea

Position: Chair

Sophie Hooper Lea has worked for over twenty years as an independent consultant, adviser and writer on corporate responsibility and sustainability issues. Current work includes being Consultant Publishing Editor to the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE).

Recent experience includes strategic consultancy, advisory and sustainability reporting work for housebuilder Taylor Wimpey plc. This included working at senior management and Board level for over 10 years on strategy and policy development and implementation as well as sustainability reporting and benchmarking. Key areas of focus are strategy and policy development, project management, research, reporting and business writing.

Sophie Hooper Lea

Chair

 

Alastair Singleton

Position: Trustee

Alastair grew up in rural Scotland and has been passionate about the environment for as long as he can remember.  He has a driving interest in renewable energy, and is a member of a several renewable energy cooperatives, including BWCE and Keynsham Community Energy.

In his early career he worked as a diplomat in the Middle East, and there followed a business career in consultancy, recruiting at senior level and building management boards for commercial and non-profit organisations. His trustee experience includes Keep Britain Tidy, VSO and CleanupUK, and he has been active in a number of local social and environmental groups. He served as a Magistrate in Bath for fifteen years.

Alastair is a BANES councillor, and acts as the Council’s Renewable Energy Advocate. The BWCE Fund is apolitical and Alastair’s appointment as trustee is in a personal capacity, rather than as a representative of the Council.

Alastair Singleton

Trustee

 

Pearl Slee

Position: Treasurer

Pearl is the incoming Treasurer of the BWCE Fund. Pearl is an experienced housing professional with a particular interest in the environmental performance of existing homes. She has 15 years of experience working in new build development and asset management roles for housing associations.

Pearl currently works in asset performance at Curo where she monitors and analyses financial, quality and environmental performance of homes and buildings. This role involves identifying ways to improve the energy performance of homes and buildings to meet future energy targets. Pearl has a MSc in Housing and Regeneration from the London School of Economics. Pearl has lived with her young family in Bath for the last 10 years.

Pearl Slee

Treasurer