We’re a BenCom
Southern Staffordshire Community Energy Limited is a community benefit society (BenCom), a type of registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. It is similar to a co-operative in many ways, except a BenCom is set up mainly to benefit the community rather than, as with a co-operative, its members.
A BenCom can raise funds by issuing shares (as we have done) and pay a reasonable rate of interest to its members. The rate of interest should be the minimum sufficient to enable it to attract finance for its projects, but over and above that surpluses should be used to benefit the community.
BenComs are run and managed by their members and must submit an annual return to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), with whom they are registered.
As a BenCom, our aim is to work for the long-term benefit of communities in Staffordshire by investing in renewable energy projects and energy-saving schemes. Our Rules and a copy of the latest report and Accounts can be downloaded here:
BenComs are about creating value for communities – this is what gives them a unique character, and this influences our values and principles. They are democratic structures with the legal ability to raise money directly from members of the public. With a ‘one member one vote system’ and a board elected from the membership, they offer a fair and transparent way to operate a community owned renewable energy business. They also have the power to prioritise investment from the local area, ensuring that as much as possible, financial benefits from renewable energy are felt by people in the locality.
To find out more about community shares, take a look at the Cooperatives UK video guide It explains what community shares are and could help you decide if they are for you.