January 5, 2016 at 11:16 am #12099
Does anyone know of a way for groups that have taken over community assets from a local authority to access help to fund utilities. e.g. a lot of these sites have high gas and electricity use and community groups often struggle to raise funds to pay these bills. Guidance needed so I can support community groups.January 5, 2016 at 11:28 am #12100
I recommend the COMA team direct you to where you can find this answer. Just worth pointing out that parish councils are permanent statutory bodies which can raise their own council tax (called a precept) – which can be used to pay all sorts of bills including utility bills – ongoing. Worth thinking about encouraging your community groups to set up parish councils in future so that you don’t have to worry about where the next funding pot is located for some items of spend (see http://www.nalc.gov.uk/our-work/create-a-council ).
Hope this helps,
Chris (NALC)January 5, 2016 at 11:33 am #12101
In my experience the first thing any group needs to do is look at their supplier and see if they can get a better deal. M<any assume that they are better off paying a supplier a standing charge and then for usage but in fact some of the combined deals are better if their building is used periodically (closed for parts of the day etc. So a review of suppliers is one way to push these costs down. the other is simple energy saving stuff (they are more likely to get a small grant for radiator valves, insulation, door closers and thermostats) than revenue to pay bills which should be apportioned to all their funders and included in their pricing for hire along with other fixed costs (those that don’t change regardless of whether a building is in use utilities, insurance and so on)
I may be teaching you to suck eggs, but hope it is helpful
LorraineJanuary 5, 2016 at 11:47 am #12102
Charities and NFP groups can get cheaper utility bills but they need to tell their supplier. See here: https://www.ukpower.co.uk/business_energy/energy-guide-for-charities
They could also think about raising the capital from their community to install solar or biomass to cut their energy bills massively, repaying investors from the surplus they’d generate from their energy savings. Biomass heat generators qualify for a subsidy from central government,and investment in biomass is still abler to attract SITR tax relief, so you can make a reasonably compelling investment proposition to your community of supporters at a cheap cost, all told.
The Community Shares CompanyJanuary 5, 2016 at 11:55 am #12103
I agree with Lorraine. The way to cheaper utility bills is to use less. There are still opportunities and initiatives which pop up to apply for funding for energy saving measures. You may get alerts to opportunities through your local CVS, if yours provides funding advice, or through a search on Funding Central http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk/search.aspx or http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/organisations/funding-and-support
Good luckJanuary 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm #12104
we took over a community centre from the local authority in 2014 and we were amazed at to how much the council were paying for their energy bills, we immediately had a phone call of a company named utility wise who quoted us tariffs that were a quarter of the cost the council were paying, saving us nearly a £1000 per annum. Im not sure on funding support although I know there is funding support for developing and installing energy monitoring systems etc.
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