Social Enterprise energised after Big Potential investment

A social enterprise is planning the next stages of its development after receiving a £30,000 funding boost.

Wallsend-based Northern Community Power (NCP) received the grant through Big Potential in August.

Big Potential is a £10m fund aimed at eligible voluntary community and social enterprise organisations (VCSEs) that want to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale in order for them to deliver greater social impact to communities across England.

After receiving initial funding from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF), NCP are currently investigating plans to install solar pv on up to 5 factory roofs in the east end of Newcastle.

Chartered accountancy and business advisory firm UNW worked with NCP to secure the funding.

Craig Woolf, Director at Northern Community Power, said “Since its incorporation in 2011 NCP has provided energy audits and workshops, focusing on low income neighbourhoods with an aim to help them understand how better energy management and locally owned renewable projects can help save costs.”

Paul Kaiser, Corporate Finance Partner at UNW, said: “Community buildings find themselves under increasing financial pressure, making what Northern Community Power are doing all the more vital. UNW is delighted to support them through the application process and beyond.”

Having completed solar feasibility on a number of factory roofs on Tyneside, the funding will enable NCP to strengthen their governance and produce a business plan and financial model to prepare them to raise the capital investment for solar installations with support from UNW.

Craig added: “We are really excited to have been chosen as a recipient of Big Potential and to be working with UNW who have already been a huge help and have a great track record in helping new organisations such as ours take the next steps in their development.”

“Long term, Northern Community Power would like to see the project lead to training and employment opportunities for local people in renewables and energy efficiency technologies. Local communities should be at the heart of the renewable revolution with the financial benefits kept in the neighbourhoods where they are needed most.”