BESCI is a new social enterprise set up by Blue Energy to distribute the community funds generated from its wind farms. Building on the vision that a truly responsive community funder can make a real long term difference to its host communities, BESCI will act as a catalyst to promote the sustainable well-being, resilience and prosperity of our host communities rather than passively administering funds.
Rather than wishing to impose a “one size fits all” or “top down” approach to the administration of community funding, BESCI will work very closely not only with established community bodies but also with those other stakeholders whose voices and views may not always be heard or represented elsewhere. All local stakeholder aspirations will be considered through an impartial filter that seeks to ensure that all project proposals and other funding requests are considered fairly and with no prior filtering, and that these are all assessed against clear and objective approval criteria by an independent management board.
Blue Energy’s current portfolio of wind farm projects will generate community benefit funds of about £25 million over their lifetime. The administration of these funds require careful husbandry by a highly skilled and dedicated multi-disciplinary support team, mainly supported by Blue Energy but with its dedicated own small management team.
BESCI considers that the funding should, wherever possible, be deployed as a catalyst to secure broader benefits for our host communities and individual residents:.
- funding a local business hub will support the growth of local enterprise;
- enhancing local public transport links will encourage more people to spend time in the area and enhance communications;
- co-funding educational opportunities can help young people make their long term homes in our areas.
- re-opening a rural car park public toilet will encourage more visitors and thus more spending in the area.
The word sustainable means more than simply long-lasting. We would ideally also support projects that contribute to the safe-guarding of the environment and well-being, i.e. the health and positive outlook, of our communities. When BESCI talks about resilience it means the ability of its communities to respond positively to change – whether economic, social or environmental. It also takes a broad view of the meaning of prosperity – under-pinned by economic success, BESCI also feels that prosperous areas have a strong and inclusive sense of community as well as thriving local community networks.
Most of all, BESCI wants to see that these objectives are translated into real projects that make a material difference to our communities. To that end it will also evaluate the impact of its work so that it can make sure the funds deliver best value against our objectives and also improve what it does where necessary.
BESCI combines local knowledge with specialist expertise and a funding structure that can make ideas become reality on the ground – whether it’s supporting young talent to realise its full potential or creating the infrastructure that nurtures economic growth and well-being for years to come. It will also identify nascent projects and work with them to strengthen their sustainability.
BESCI is not and does not wish to be a traditional community funder. Although it is a social enterprise, with social aims, it is not a charity – a very deliberate move that enables it to be far more responsive and flexible to a broader range of proposals than many existing funders. This includes backing business ideas where appropriate.
BESCI is committed to developing meaningful partnerships with all members of its host communities and ensuring that as wide as possible a range of voices are heard in its processes. It will also be fully transparent in its workings with each proposal given a clear pathway and date for its decision. Needless to say, funding decisions will be assessed objectively against clear published criteria and we consult with our communities in the drafting of these to ensure that local wishes are represented and respected.
At its inception BESCI will manage four ring-fenced funds, one for each of its wind farms – with between £2000 and £5000 per megawatt of power generated per year by each windfarm being designated for each host area. Details of the megawatt generation can be found by following links here
BESCI’s work is paid for by a contribution of the total funds per annum per site. This money is used to employ an Initiatives Director and pay for the administration of the fund. This spending will be detailed in BESCIL’s accounts. BESCI is a non profit distributing company and any funds that are not used or spent will be accumulated for spending in the following year and not “lost” to the benefit of the host community. Whilst the centralising of overheads enables us to achieve significant economies of scale and the cross-fertilisation of knowledge, ideas and expertise, each of the designated pots is at all times ring-fenced for the relevant host community and there will be no co-mingling of such funds for the benefit of other communities.