Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust is continuing its awards streak and has been shortlisted for three more accolades – this time for innovation and success in social enterprise.
The Trust, which operates the biggest community wind farm in the UK at Beinn Ghrideag just outside Stornoway, has been listed as a finalist in both the Scottish and UK Social Enterprise Awards for its work in operating a commercial business for social good.
Its business model is to maintain 100% community ownership while also operating as an entirely commercial enterprise, seeking to make as much profit as possible. While it is more usual for community-owned projects to be run on a not-for-profit basis, the Point and Sandwick organization sells the power generated from the turbines and then channels the profits into community projects.
Point and Sandwick Power is the trading company which makes the money by running the wind farm and then gives the profits to Point and Sandwick Trust, the umbrella charity, in the form of gift aid for investment in the local community.
The Scottish and UK Social Enterprise Awards recognize organizations for their business excellence and contribution to society through innovation, impact, and success in social enterprise. They celebrate “businesses that aim to change the world for the better” and there are seven awards categories.
Point and Sandwick Trust has been shortlisted in the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2018 for Social Enterprise of the Year and Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year. It also made the shortlist for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018, where it is up for Social Enterprise of the Year.
The triple shortlisting for social enterprise follows two previous awards for Point and Sandwick Trust.
In 2015, the Point and Sandwick wind farm Beinn Ghrideag was named Best Community Project at the Scottish Green Energy Awards and in June this year, the Trust took the trophy for ‘Celebrating Communities’ at the Scottish Charity Awards, run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
“To be recognized for our work by both the Scottish and UK Social Enterprise bodies is a huge accolade and we are delighted to be in the running for these prestigious awards,” said Calum MacDonald, who developed the 9-MW, project for Point and Sandwick Trust.
For MacDonald, the innovation element of the social enterprise awards is itself a key part of what makes the organization so special.
“The community energy business is itself an innovation. We’re not a normal social enterprise because we make profit – and we’re determined to make the most profit we can – but we’re not a normal commercial enterprise either because that profit doesn’t go away to shareholders somewhere else. It’s kept here on the islands,” explained MacDonald. “We’re a new hybrid type of company, a unique business model, combining commercial discipline with social and charitable purpose.”
Winners of the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland will be announced at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on November 6. The UK Social Enterprise Awards final will be held in Guildhall, London, on November 28.