Awel Co-op named regional finalist in top awards

Awel Co-op has made it to the finals in the Community Ownership Awards 2016, the only national awards programme recognising community co-operation around the UK.

Awel Co-op is building a two turbine wind farm on Mynydd y Gwrhyd north of Pontardawe. The wind farm will generate enough power to supply the equivalent of 2500 homes. It has raised £1.54m from a Share Offer to help fund the turbines and also had back from Welsh Government.

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The Community Ownership Awards are run by Plunkett Foundation, the national charity supporting people to set up and run community co-operatives – businesses that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people from within their local area – to help overcome issues ranging from isolation and loneliness to poverty.

Dan McCallum, one of Awel’s Directors said “We are really honoured to get this recognition from the Plunkett Foundation. We want our wind farm to be owned by as many people as possible – it’s fantastic that you can co-own a wind farm from £50. Our Share Offer has already raised £1.54m which is the largest ever in Wales. As a co-op, it’s one member, one vote irrespective of how many shares someone owns. We are offering a return of 5% to members which is much better than current bank rates. And you’ll be able to see where your money is going! Visit www.awel.coop for more”

Awel Co-op will now compete with other finalists to be crowned the best community owned co-operative in Wales by an expert judging panel. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in London on Monday 28 November.

Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of Plunkett Foundation, said: “All over the UK and Ireland, people living in rural areas are taking matters into their own hands to address some of the challenges associated with rural life. Whilst living in the countryside can be wonderful, it can also be a struggle for many; for example, young families struggling to find work nearby or to afford to live locally; older people without families close by, or those who’ve recently retired and are looking for a new direction. Many rural people are experiencing loneliness, isolation or poverty because it’s difficult to access a lot of the things that are needed to participate fully in society and modern life – things like a regular bus service, being able to buy affordable food at a local shop, having reliable access to the internet, or somewhere to socialise and meet people.

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“At Plunkett, we’ve seen first-hand the transformative power of co-operation, which is why we help people to set up businesses that are owned and run by the community and that address some of the real challenges facing our rural communities today. The Community Ownership Awards are designed to help communities celebrate their own success and learn from each other, and to raise awareness about the co-operative model and community ownership to a wider audience.”

We are delighted to be welcoming back Hastoe Housing Association as both overall sponsor and sponsor of the People’s Choice Award. The Awards are also generously supported by: Co-operative and Community Finance; The Co-operative College; The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN); NFRN Mutual; The Phone Co-op; SUMA; Triodos Bank and WBC.

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Notes to Editors:

About the Community Ownership Awards 2016:

The Community Ownership Awards are about celebrating the most inspiring examples of people in rural areas working together to improve their communities. They are designed to help communities celebrate their own success and learn from each other, and to raise awareness about the co-operative model and community ownership to a wider audience. For more information visit the Awards website at: www.communityownershipawards.com

About Plunkett Foundation:

Plunkett Foundation (www.plunkett.co.uk) helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them together. We support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. They help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.

About community co-operatives:

Community co-operatives can come in many forms: shops, pubs, bakeries, farms, community hubs, farmers’ markets, woodlands, broadband projects – the list is endless. They are businesses, but they trade primarily for the benefit of their community. They are controlled by the community, and they have open and voluntary membership, actively encouraging people to get involved by becoming members. They do this by offering shares in the co-operative, the cost of which are set at a level that the majority of people will be able to afford. Click here for more information – https://www.plunkett.co.uk/what-are-community-co-operatives.

 

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