Dave Fuller is a man who spends a lot of his considerable energy trying to save energy. As part of Repowering, a social enterprise that creates community-owned renewable energy projects, he is also building up community funds for local people to direct into priority projects.
We started in the borough about a year ago working with the local council and with Marie from Westway Trust slowly building up relationships with local schools and community groups. And with the help of Westway Trust we were able to run some solar panel-making workshops in the Bay 20 community centre.
The goal however was to get investment from local people and other stakeholders for a sustainable energy project in the borough as North Kensington Community Energy: “In November we launched our community share offer to raise £83k to install solar panels on two local primary schools and a community centre,” he says.
By installing the solar panels we are reducing our reliance on coal and gas-fired power stations - that means every year we are stopping 32 tonnes of Co2 being pumped into the atmosphere.
Westway Trust invested £10,000 in the first offer and is in talks with NKCE to support a similar but more ambitious project to put panels on the Westway Sports Centre.
Dave describes it as an “ethical investment” because as well as proving cheaper energy to the organisations hosting the panels, the sale of that electricity allows NKCE to pay back investors their original amount of money plus three per cent interest every year.
“But as well as creating interest,” Dave explains, “we take half the profits and we put it into a community fund. The community fund for what we have done so far is £28k. That legally has to be spent on projects within K&C and the idea is that local groups, grassroots groups, can use it as seed funding for their own projects … it is going to be controlled by people who are living in the area.”
Dave is happy to be working again in North Kensington having spent summers on the streets as part of the Genesis mas band practising for and performing at carnival. “I was amazed at how much people talk to each other here, it doesn’t happen in other parts of London - that real sense of grassroots community is something we should cherish.”