There was great excitement when Point and Sandwick Trust won a Scottish Charity Award in June and now our community wind farm organisation has been shortlisted for three more accolades — this time for innovation and success in social enterprise.
We operate the biggest community wind farm in the UK at Beinn Ghrideag just outside Stornoway and have been listed as a finalist in both the Scottish and UK Social Enterprise Awards for our work in operating a commercial business for social good.
Our business model is to maintain 100 per cent 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 organisation 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 recognise organisations 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. We also made the shortlist for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018, where we are up for Social Enterprise of the Year.
The triple shortlisting for social enterprise follows two previous awards for PST.
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.
Calum MacDonald, who developed the 9MW, three-turbine project for Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “To be recognised 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.”
For Calum, the innovation element of the social enterprise awards is itself a key part of what makes the organisation 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.
“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.