Why We Won – Who We Thank
It’s been a good week for Robert Owen Community Banking. On Tuesday we were awarded a prestigious Citi Micro-entrepreneurship award – today we’ve been given the go ahead to keep on revolving the significant amount of funds invested with us by Powys County Council, in order to deliver carbon savings across the county by supporting the installation of energy efficiency and renewables in the private housing market.
These are not isolated events. The Citi Micro-entrepreneurship award recognises the ‘Social and Community Impact’ that we have made across all of our loan book. This includes our work financing community energy schemes, as detailed in the press release from Responsible Finance which we posted here yesterday. But it also includes our work in lending to start-up businesses across Wales as a delivery partner to the Start Up Loan Company, and our innovative delivery of Zero Interest Loans for energy efficiency and household renewables and Home Improvement Loan funds within Powys.
As we’ve explained before, our domestic energy loans have made a significant impact upon the installed capacity of a number of renewable energy technologies in Powys, as evidenced by the Low Carbon Energy Generation Report issued by Welsh Government. This is real success. Not only are we helping Powys homes to be more sustainable, but we are capturing income from renewables subsidies into the local economy, as well as making investment go further by recycling the money we put out, time and time again.
We are a young social finance company, but the nature of what we do and how we seek to help is starting to be recognised, not just by award givers like Citigroup or investors like Powys County Council, but by a wide network of supporters who assist us in our work. It is only right, therefore that we dedicate the Social and Community Impact Award to all those who recognise the social and economic benefits that we are seeking to achieve through our loan products, and who help us to deliver them.
The list is long and includes individuals, such as our volunteer directors and all those who play a role in assessing loan applications and mentoring our clients; our small investors such as Cae Post, Storm.com, and Newtown Town Council; organisations, such as Community Energy Wales, who helped develop the initial funding application to Big Lottery for the Community Energy Fund; Powys County Council’s Private Sector Housing Team, for taking an initial risk in trying something new, and their Cabinet for continuing to support success; and the Start Up Loan Company, who have allowed us to support enterprising individuals to start up rewarding and profitable businesses.
So, we have won a major award and the recognition is great – thank you. But we have no intention of resting upon our laurels. We are certain that what we do with our finance products makes a difference to the wellbeing of individuals and communities. We want to extend the reach of the investments we make, so that more people across Wales can benefit. To do this we need access to new sources of capital, whether this be from private or public sector sources. We hope that the recognition we are now receiving will help us to make a case for this new investment and that the future will see the growth of more innovative, enterprising, sustainable and responsible finance solutions in Wales for years ahead.