Keynsham Community Energy is a community benefit society (BenCom), a type of registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. It's 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 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 any surplus 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 people in Keynsham 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 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 living in and around Keynsham.
The wider Keynsham Community Energy group meets twice a year, and its directors meet on average bi-monthly. We hold an AGM where members get the opportunity to help steer the strategic direction of the organisation. Directors take day-day-to-day operational decisions.
To find out more about community shares, please visit the Cooperatives UK video guide, which explains what community shares are and could help you decide if they are for you.
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