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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Island charity gets UK award for being business champion

This news post is about 1 year old

Proven to be a top social enterprise

Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) has won a major UK award for social enterprise.

The organisation was named 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 £2.5 Million in community grants and giving in the villages it serves and the wider Western Isles.

Calum Macdonald, development manager for Point and Sandwick Trust and former MP for the Western Isles collected the award on behalf of PST and said that 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.”

Megan Virrels, CEO of NatWest Social & Community Capital, said: “Inequality and inclusion remain front of mind as global shocks and rising prices hit some of the most vulnerable in our society hardest.

“The services that social enterprises and trading charities provide remain crucial to our communities. Through initiatives such as the SE100 Awards, we are able to highlight the extraordinary work that these organisations are doing, week in week out – and to demonstrate to the wider public, to policymakers and investors that it’s possible to do good and do well at the same time”.

Point and Sandwick Trust has previously won the Scottish Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Awards (2021 Best Community Energy Project), 2018 UK Environmental Social Enterprise Award and the Celebrating Communities Award at the Scottish Charity Awards and Best Community Project at the Scottish Green Energy Awards in 2015.