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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Community-owned wind farm named UK Social Business champions

This news post is 8 months old

The Western Isles-based group won a major social enterprise award. 

Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) has won a major UK award for social enterprise and has been named the Social Business Champion in the UK-wide SE100 Social Business Awards 2023.  

The wind farm charity based on the Isle of Lewis was also listed in the Top 100 list of social enterprise businesses for the fourth year running.

Run by Pioneers Post and NatWest Social & Community Capital, the Social Business Awards are designed to celebrate the growth, impact and resilience of social ventures in the UK each year.  

The Social Business Champion award recognised Point and Sandwick Trust for its delivery of strong social impact over the past year, thanks to an entrepreneurial and sustainable business model and was among 7 awards given to social ventures that are leading by example in their quest to generate revenue to deliver a social or environmental mission.

Point and Sandwick Trust is a 100% community-owned wind farm that operates as a commercial enterprise, selling power generated by its wind turbines and recycling the profits into the local community. 

The charitable organisation uses its income from the three turbines to promote the wellbeing of local people and is dedicated to a social mission providing long-term support to the local charity ecosystem, advising on local initiatives and donating funding.  

In total PST has donated more than £2.5million in community grants and giving in the villages it serves and the wider Western Isles.

As a total surprise to everyone at Point and Sandwick Trust, the organisers arranged with representatives from Bethesda, the Western Isles only Hospice and first organisation to receive a 25-year pledge of grant funding for the lifetime of PST’s wind farm, to announce the winners via an online link to Stornoway.  

Carol Somerville and Joanne Ferguson appeared on screen to announce the winners and spoke about the role of Bethesda in the community and the value of the grant of £55,000 gifted to the Hospice each year. 

Carol Sommerville said on the night: “PST are well aware of how important the hospice is to our community as it is the only one on the island, offering pain control, respite care and end of life care to people and their families free of charge. 

“The fundraising for running costs of over £400,000 per year is a massive undertaking for a small island like ours and we are very grateful to Point and Sandwick Trust for their support.  

We're absolutely delighted that they have won the SE100 Business award and wish them every success in the future”.

Calum Macdonald, development manager for Point and Sandwick Trust, and former MP for the Western Isles, collected the award on behalf of PST. He said he hoped “seeing the social impact made possible by the PST community wind farm would inspire others to consider how community-owned renewables can make a positive difference to towns and villages across the country”.

PST general manager, Donald John MacSween, added: “It's fantastic to win this award, made possible by our skilled, hardworking and dedicated team of directors, staff and consultants, who have successfully steered the charity, and our renewable power business, through some very challenging times in the last few years.  

“There is no doubt that community ownership of our renewable resources is the way forward-to help address climate change and help our community create a sustainable, locally owned and managed economy. I am very proud of our community and our business has been honoured with this award.”