PURE – the Clean Planet Trust, a carbon reduction charity, has announced it has secured a £1 million investment from Big Society Capital, which it says will enable PURE to fund up to 70 community energy projects, marking a significant milestone in its efforts to deliver a £7 million income boost to deprived communities across the UK.
Big Society Capital’s investment will be augmented by donations from companies such as Barclays and British Airways. PURE’s Community Energy Fund represents a blueprint for combining social and private investment to benefit deprived communities and the environment.
The PURE Community Energy Fund provides low interest loans to community-led projects, enabling them to afford to set up small-scale renewable energy schemes.
To date, PURE says it has used funds from Big Society Capital to issue around £150,000 of low interest loans to five community based projects, including Fenham Swimming Pool in Newcastle and the Southmead Development Trust in Bristol.
As well as reducing carbon emissions, the projects also provide a continuing income stream for their communities from energy savings and via the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The projects funded to date will reduce CO2 emissions by 1,200 tonnes and generate over £500,000 of new community revenues.
To celebrate this landmark investment PURE and Big Society Capital hosted a joint reception at the Cabinet Office on Monday, addressed by Big Society Capital ceo Nick O’Donohoe and minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
PURE ceo, Robert Rabinowitz, said: “This is a landmark day for Pure, and I’d like to thank Big Society Capital for recognising the value of the work Pure has done to date and investing in PURE’s massive potential to deliver real social and environmental benefits.
“I’m also proud of PURE’s record in ensuring that investment from the likes of Barclays and British Airways is maximised on the ground. Our innovative funding model ensures that we can provide at least £2 of funding to projects for each £1 that’s been donated. We’re sure that more corporate investors will follow suit and invest in new projects across the country.”
Big Society Capital’s ceo, Nick O’Donohoe, added: “We are delighted to support PURE’s mission of utilising renewable energy to address social need. PURE’s innovative approach illustrates how Big Society Capital and social investment can work with major companies to deliver benefit to society.”