Berwick Community Trust is an innovative charity providing a range of services to the local community in Berwick-upon-Tweed. They protect their financial sustainability by using any surplus generated to cross-subsidise essential programmes such as employment support and a food bank. In 2007 the Trust entered a joint venture with Community Renewable Energy (CoRE) to build a wind turbine to provide renewable energy to 500 local homes and generate income, their portion of which would be reinvested back into their community support services. The Trust came to Baxendale when the project stalled after planning permission due to a £1.45m external funding gap.
We assessed the proposition and built a market-ready investment case to secure the 85-90% debt funding required. On the strength of that case, we chose to become a cornerstone investor in the project ourselves. We partnered with Advanced Renewables and then approached the market to broker additional investment from Co-op. Once we had helped to structure an investment deal worth £1.45m, the turbine was built in April 2014 and has been generating electricity, profit and local social impact since May 2014.
“Having been hit hard by cuts in public sector funding, the Trust cannot overstate the importance of this project in allowing us to support residents and deliver real impact within the town.” – Julien Lake, CEO