Our story

Understanding our organisation

The Low Carbon Hub comprises two organisations working in cooperation: the Low Carbon Hub Industrial and Provident Society (Low Carbon Hub IPS) and the Low Carbon Hub Community Interest Company (Low Carbon Hub CIC). Surpluses from the Hub IPS are passed to the Hub CIC to fund our work on community energy projects.

Low Carbon Hub IPS

The Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited was set up as an Industrial Provident Society. Since the Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 these are now known as Registered Societies, a legal form used for businesses that are run for the benefit of the wider community, re-investing profits in the community. Community Benefit societies are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The purpose of the Low Carbon Hub IPS is to develop a decentralised, locally-owned renewable energy infrastructure for Oxfordshire to put local power in the hands of local people. We do this by developing our own portfolio of renewable energy projects with businesses, schools and public sector partners. No capital investment is required from our partners and there is minimal risk. Projects include roof-top, ground-mounted and canopy solar photovoltaic installations (solar PV), micro-hydro schemes, and biomass.

The Low Carbon Hub IPS raises the investment and is the owner of these energy generation assets. Investors in The Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited, become members and owners.

Surpluses from the Hub IPS are passed to the Hub CIC to fund its community benefit projects and supporting activities. An example of a Low Carbon Hub IPS project is the solar PV installation on Oxford Bus Company’s depot in Cowley.

Company registration number: 31903R

Low Carbon Hub CIC

The other half of the Low Carbon Hub structure is the Community Interest Company (CIC). CICs are social enterprises that want to use their surplus or assets for public good.

The purpose of the Low Carbon Hub CIC is to deliver community benefit and provide practical support to communities to develop their own renewable energy projects on community assets. The projects provide cheaper electricity, an income for the local community and opportunities for local people to invest. The Hub team supports community volunteers through the complex process of setting up a social enterprise, developing their project, getting the project to investment-readiness and raising necessary finance. The process normally results in a local share-offer in which citizens can invest. Surpluses from community-owned enterprises are reinvested into further locally-managed carbon reduction projects. An example of a Low Carbon Hub CIC-supported project is Osney Lock Hydro in West Oxford.

In addition, the CIC is developing innovative low-carbon energy services and business models for communities to improve our renewable energy infrastructure. A part of the work of the CIC is influencing key stakeholders to create a supportive operating environment for community energy.

Our community group partners have a shareholding in the CIC to ensure our operation is totally transparent and is guided by those it is set up to serve. They elect one community member on our board of directors. To see if your group can join contact us.

Company registration number: 7583663

Low Carbon Hub Sandford Hydro Ltd

Sandford Hydro Ltd has been set up as a subsidiary of the IPS. All IPS Board members are on the Board of Sandford Hydro Ltd.

Company registration number: 9743887

Management team and Board of Directors

Most members of the Board have been working together on community projects for many years. The Low Carbon Hub CIC and IPS Boards of Directors are comprised of the same people with the addition of an independent Director on each: Steve Drummond is the independent Director of the Low Carbon Hub IPS; Sue Halliwell is the independent Director of the Low Carbon Hub CIC. A Community Director is also elected to the CIC Board by our community shareholder groups.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I become a member of the Low Carbon Hub IPS?

Our members are our investor shareholders. You can become a member by investing in the Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited. We run share offers giving people the opportunity to invest with us. As we run these offers, we will keep this page updated. 

You may also want to sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop on any new share offer announcements. 

How does my community group become a member of the Low Carbon Hub CIC?

Your community group can become a community shareholder of the Community Interest Company (CIC) if it is has a low carbon or community energy focus. Our community groups can apply to the Low Carbon Hub for grant funding, get support for projects and ideas, and vote in the Community Director to the CIC Board. 

See our current community group members.

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a member, contact Saskya Huggins

What is a community share?

Community shares refers to a distinct type of share capital called ‘withdrawable shares’ which behave differently to conventional share capital, also known as ordinary or transferable shares. Unlike the transferable shares used by most companies, community shares cannot be transferred between people, and are instead withdrawable, meaning that shareholders can withdraw their share capital, subject to detail in their share offer document and to Board approval. 

Community shares are not listed on the stock market and cannot be bought and sold between people. 

You can read more about the difference between community shares and conventional shares here

What are the benefits of investing in community shares?

There are many benefits to investing in community shares. Here we have highlighted a few key benefits:  

  • You are supporting an enterprise, and the benefits it brings to you and your community through its products and services. If the venture is successful you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you have played a part in making it work.
  • You become a member of a community enterprise, with a democratic say in its social aims and future success.
  • You might also be offered a financial return on your investment, together with the scope to cash in your shares at some point in the future. However, it is important to remember that this is a social investment and not a financial investment.

What are the risks of investing in community shares?

Buying any type of shares involves risk. Community Shares can’t go up in value, but they can go down if the society is making losses. As a shareholder you could lose some or all of the money you invest. You should only take these risks with money you can afford to lose.

More information:

  • News story

    The Community Energy Fund 2021 is open!

    18th November 2020
    Our Community Energy Fund has now re-opened for new investment. With your help, we can make an energy system that works for all of us, and for the planet, a reality. Find out more below, or invest in the Community Energy Fund now. Deadline: 31 March 2021Target raise: £1.5 million Minimum investment: £100Maximum investment: £100,000Interest rate: 5%…
    Find out more