The recession that followed the banking collapse of 2008 has demonstrated the fragility of the funding that community groups have relied on to deliver services.
Where there was a steady (if not infrequently unreliable) stream of funding available from a mix of funders, much of this has dried up. Many Local Authorities and the NHS have reduced or discontinued their funding to community groups, endowed funds and trusts have had their portfolios reduced by decline and unpredictability the stock market, and the remaining funders have had to focus on the areas of highest need to replace other sources of funding.
It is more vital than ever before that community groups seek dedicated and self-generated funds. Some of this can be done through trading and some through more aggressive fundraising. But the major opportunity for communities is in harnessing renewables.
There are plenty of great stories about communities like Eigg or Fintry that have used wind power to generate funds for their communities. But there are very few examples of this happening in an urban context. Community groups in Portobello and Leith have got together to break new ground in urban renewables in Scotland. Greener Leith and PEDAL -> Portobello Transition Town have put together a joint bid for funding for a wind turbine.
You can read more about it here.
It is really important that communities get control of this resource. It is an opportunity to get community control of one of the few remaining commons that hasn’t been subjected to corporate ownership and the profit motive.
We’d really like to get funding for this. But we’re hampered by the reduction in funding available to community groups, and the reluctance of the banks to invest in renewables, when they could be supporting tar sands development or cluster bombs instead.
So we’d love it if you went to the EnergyShare website and supported our project. It will help to support the community in Leith and Portobello, but more importantly it will create a valuable precedent for other urban groups wanting to take ownership of the natural resources offered by wind power.