The Low Carbon Hub comprises two organisations working in cooperation: The Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited (a Registered Society) and the Low Carbon Hub CIC (a Community Interest Company).
What is an IPS and Registered Society?
The Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited was set up as an Industrial Provident Society, which is a legal form used for organisations that act either as a co-operative or for the benefit of the community.
In 2014 The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act consolidated and replaced previous Industrial Provident Society legislation. Under the Act a society registered before August 2014 must refer to itself as a 'Registered Society', rather than a Community Benefit Society, although we are governed by the Act.
Key principles are:
- Purpose: our business must be entirely for the benefit of the community
- Membership: we have members who hold shares and we are run on a democratic 'one member, one vote' basis
- Application of profits: must be used for the benefit of the community with any interest on share capital being viewed as an operating expense rather than a distribution of profits
- Use of assets: must only be used for the benefit of the community and, as such, have an 'asset lock'.
What is a Community Interest Company (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.
Who owns the Low Carbon Hub?
Investors in The Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited, become members and owners. Similarly, our community groups who become community shareholders own the Community Interest Company (CIC). See our structure above and you can find out more here.
What do you do?
We develop renewable energy projects with local schools, businesses and community groups and reinvest 100% of our own surplus revenue that this generates into our mission to create an energy system we can all feel good about.
How do you do this?
We raise money to make these projects happen through community shares. We offer people the opportunity to invest in us directly for a good financial, social and environmental return. Our share offers give people the opportunity to shape the energy future of Oxfordshire. You can read more about community shares below.
What is Social Impact?
We use the surplus from the The Low Carbon Hub IPS Limited, along with grants and other sources of funding to encourage community energy to flourish. Part of our social impact is delivered through the allocation of our profits to community benefit.
These are used to support:
- Grants and loans supporting social enterprises
- Innovation, investing in new ideas
- Grants to low carbon community groups
- Helpdesk support, advice and information
Check out our latest Social Impact Report on our Impacts page for more information.
Low Carbon Hub Social Impact Report 2017Download now
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 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.
Where can I find out more?
Money Advice Service: information on community shares