Exeter Community Energy named a finalist in the UK Social Enterprise Awards

ECOE is one of six finalists for UK Environmental Social Enterprise for the year 2020/2021.

ECOE is one of six finalists for UK Environmental Social Enterprise for the year 2020/2021.

Exeter Community Energy (ECOE) has successfully earned a shortlist place in the UK Social Enterprise Awards. That makes it one of the leading social enterprises in the country.

ECOE is a finalist in the Environmental Social Enterprise category. It uses income from its ten solar power sites to bring  practical change in our community by tackling energy-related challenges. ECOE hopes these sites will return over £170,000 to the community through its community fund over their 20-year lifespans.

The shortlisting celebrates great work during 2020’s pandemic challenges. From September 2020-March 2021, ECOE’s Healthy Homes for Wellbeing anti-fuel poverty project helped 1145 households to save over £1m collectively. That’s nearly £900 per household on average. ECOE returned nearly £20,500 in interest to its members – mostly among local people – for their investments to set up the organisation. In 2019/2020 ECOE awarded £6,990 to 11 groups through its ECOE community fund, to fight climate change and fuel poverty. This year’s ECOE community fund remains open to applicants – visit https://www.ecoe.org.uk/ or email lenka@ecoe.org.uk for more details.

In 2020 ECOE’s renewable energy generation prevented emission of 88 tonnes of CO2. That’s roughly what 20 petrol-powered vehicles would emit over a whole year. So far, ECOE has generated 1.59GWh of electricity, and saved 567 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Commenting on being shortlisted, ECOE director Andy Extance said:

Following the IPCC’s big climate change report, we’ve heard about people becoming despondent. However community energy groups like ECOE give local people the chance to do something practical. We at ECOE are delighted that our continuing success in driving positive change has been recognised by another award nomination. However, this is all about our community. Our success is just a reflection of the work of our team, the backing of our members and supporters, and great relationships with our partners.

Commenting on the Awards, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK Peter Holbrook said:

The UK Social Enterprise Awards are back, bigger and better than ever before. We have had a record number of applications this year, all of which have showcased the strength, dynamism and resilience of the social enterprise community through what’s been an incredibly difficult and uncertain period.

Over the course of the pandemic social enterprises have been going above and beyond the call of duty to support their teams, the individuals, and communities they work with, showing the grit, determination and innovation so inherent to this sector. They’ve been operating directly on the frontline of the crisis, launching new products and pivoting their business models to meet the needs of communities and society as a whole. The Awards are all about celebrating the achievements of the UK’s social enterprise movement, which is showing us that another way of doing business is possible – one which has never been more important as we look to build back better and address the climate emergency.

The UK Social Enterprise Awards are run by Social Enterprise UK. They recognise the nation’s most pioneering social enterprises. ECOE will be joining the awards ceremony held at London’s Guildhall on 8 December.