Totnes Community Development Society

Find out more about the TCDS’s new membership opportunity at Tresoc’s AGM.

Also giving a short presentation on the night, Mark Burton from the Totnes Community Development Society [TCDS] will talk about the exciting new developments that, as a local community member, you can help support.

Totnes Renewable Energy Society are signing up to this free membership offer which is available to download here or, alternatively by visiting their website.

TCDS is about “development through a community organisation of buildings and land in Totnes – owned by those living and working in the area.” Part of that development includes the ATMOS project: an initiative to create jobs, affordable homes and community space – through a Community Right to Build Order – on the old Dairy Crest site in Totnes. Site plans and designs include an Energy Centre, which Tresoc are looking forward to being involved with.

AGM 2018

AGM
14TH November 2018, 7-9pm
Royal Seven Stars, Totnes

 

Guest Speaker – Guy Watson
Riverford Organics’ Founder and Farmer

 

At this year’s AGM we’re celebrating our 11th year with guest speaker Guy Watson who’ll be talking about Ownership – is it time for something different? This free event is open to members and general public so you can bring friends and family too.

We exist to benefit our community, to create renewable energy projects that deliver low cost energy from local sources, backed by local investors.

As well as reporting on the past year’s activities we’ll also be looking ahead to 2019 – set to be a landmark year. After recent feasibility studies, we’ll soon be offering opportunities to invest in upcoming local schemes, including  a Solar Schools Share Offer, the anaerobic digester at Old Parsonage Farm on the Dartington Estate and the new Staverton Hydro – the culmination of 4 years’ work with our partners Fishtec and consultations with the local community. This will involve repairing the weir for the Environment Agency and also be repairing and maintaining the leat itself, taking it from just a tiny trickle to a healthy supply of water fit to keep the hydro plant going.

We believe in ethics and sustainability in business and that there’s a new, kinder way of doing things to benefit local people, the local environment and local economy. These are transformative times worthy of celebrating and Totnes is once again ahead of the curve. We hope you can join us for an inspiring evening.

Ian Bright & the Tresoc team

The 3rd Annual Archimedes Screw Fest

The 3rd Annual Archimedes Screw Fest 

Totnes Weir
Event date: 6th October 2018
Time: 10am-4pm
Admission: Free

Join us to celebrate the River Dart and its most spectacular new landmark – the twin turbines of the Totnes Weir hydropower scheme.

We’ll be celebrating the many ways we all care for the River Dart – we support clean energy, make art, write poetry, stop plastic getting in to it, learn about biodiversity, become citizen scientists, notice problems, track and log wildlife, swim, boat and fish considerately…

Rain or shine there’ll be loads of fun activities going on all day …

  • Turbine Tours at 12 noon and 3pm
  • Eureka! Meet Archimedes in person
  • Citizen Science and rivers bugs with Westcountry Rivers Trust
  • Renewable energy technology workshops for primary children with REEL
  • Join in with the “Plastic Free Salmon” art project
  • Find out about Bio-Regional Learning Centre’s pilot Dart Charter on the Dartington Estate
  • Learn about more community energy investment opportunities from TRESOC
  • Yummy arancini (Archimedes favourite snack) from The Kitchen Table

The Screw Fest is Tour Stop #4 on Transition Town Totnes’ Eco Homes Weekend trail. 

How to get there
The site is accessible via foot- and cycle-path from Totnes to Dartington – it’s about half a mile upstream of Totnes town centre. It’s a lovely easy walk on flat ground. No parking nearby.

Hope to see you …

All best

The TRESOC Team.

A Vote for Innovation

 

We were overwhelmed by the support for the transition to a permanently open share-offer. We received 120 ‘yes’ votes and no ‘no’ votes. Voting closed on Saturday 1st September.

A move to a permanently open share-offer would give our members quicker access to their money, by removing the 3 year minimum investment period, and enable us to accept new members at any time – bringing in cash to develop new projects as they arise and more projects being installed.

Co-operatives UK have launched a Share-Booster programme to encourage best practice and innovation in the community shares market. Most community share-offers are time-bound, for example, standard practice is to hold the investment for a minimum of 3 years with a notice period of 180 days. The Co-op believe that established societies should ideally be making open offers, as a principal way of maintaining membership and share liquidity. And we believe it’s time for Tresoc to innovate in this way too.

Changing the society rules requires a significant amount of legal work. Co-operatives UK are currently providing grants of up to £10k to do this and launch new open-share offers. We’ve already applied for the grant which has been provisionally awarded. However, in order to draw down the money we need to provide the signed heads of terms agreements for the new solar installations we are proposing. So it is all taking much longer than we anticipated, and the ‘spring solar share offer’ that became the ‘summer solar share-offer’, might even become the ‘autumn solar share-offer’. However, it is well worth waiting for because it will now include more roof top solar pv on community buildings and the re-financing of the Charity Bank loan (that we took out to purchase the 50kW Hatchlands Array).

A move to a permanently open share-offer and to make these beneficial changes to the society rules required a member vote. For it to be valid, we needed a quorum, which was 50 people.

 

Member’s Interest Payment

The highlight of last November’s AGM was a vote in favour of an Interest distribution to members for the period ended 31st March 2017 at the rate of 2%, payable on 1st April 2017.

We trust that you agree with us that this first, modest interest payment to members from a trading surplus is a significant achievement!

TRESOC Members have now been sent out information on the Members Interest Payment, with important details on what steps take place next. Please do check your email for this week’s notice sent out.

If you have any queries or questions, please get in touch, either by emailing us admin@tresoc.co.uk or calling us on 01803 867431.

The Tresoc team would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all members who have stuck by us over the last 10 years. Without your support we would not exist.

Notice of Annual General Meeting and Annual Report 2016

We are pleased to invite you to our Annual General Meeting at 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 30th November, 2016 at St. John’s Church, Bridgetown, Totnes. Please do join us also for drinks, nibbles and sparkling conversation at St. John’s, after the AGM.

We are delighted to be welcoming, as Guest Speaker, Karen Williams, C.O.O. of The Dartington Hall Trust; as TRESOC looks towards working in partnership with the Trust.

TRESOC AGM 2016

Building on the award winning success of last year, this year the Tresoc Team have continued to develop the solar portfolio with the purchase of the 50kW roof mounted array at Hatchlands Farm and the installation of a new 30kW roof mounted array at Lescaze House, Dartington. This marks the start of Tresoc providing electricity direct to consumers via private wire network, and thus becoming an electricity supplier. Tresoc has also established the Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society to develop a 100 kW hydro power station which will supply low cost renewable electricity to Dartington Hall Trust. Furthermore, we continued to investigate the potential for an on farm anaerobic digestion plant to convert local food wastes into electricity, heat and valuable fertiliser.

On the administration front, we have upgraded our financial management and forecasting capabilities with the adoption of SAGE financial software.
To further the development of renewable energy through community engagement and education we organised several community events and worked with a range of students. These include: a project with Plymouth University design students on Totnes Weir; a summer internship with a student from Exeter University to investigate the potential for the anaerobic digestion of local food waste, which culminated in a community talk; Guest talks at Schumacher; and, the first ever Archimedes Screw Fest.

The income stream from our solar assets, with a welcome bonus from the sale of shares in Dart Renewables to Tresoc members, means that we are on target to make a trading surplus in the current financial year. This will allow a first modest interest payment to members of 2%. Details will be announced at the AGM and payments will be made at the end of our financial year in April 2017. This hard won ability to operate profitably is a key milestone for Tresoc and we are keen to celebrate and share this achievement with our members at this AGM. Your continuing loyalty and support during the long haul to profitability has been key to our success.

Come and Take Part

We urge you to come to our AGM, ask questions and help us develop our strategy for the year ahead – we’d like to welcome all of you! Our goal – as always – is that you are aligned with, and endorse the efforts we are making on your behalf.

The Agenda for the AGM can be found here. The Directors’ Report and a summary of our latest Accounts to 31st March 2015 will be available at the AGM or can be down loaded from the website. A signed copy of the Accounts has been submitted to the Financial Services Authority, and copies will be available to members at the AGM.

On entry to the AGM your name will be checked against the Register of Members. Attendees will be required to vote on society business. We would be grateful if you could let us know if you plan to attend; Click here to RSVP online. Alternatively, if you are unable to attend and, wish to nominate a proxy, please find a Proxy Voting Form along with the AGM Agenda on the website.

Member Communications

In order to keep you up to date, we do need to have your current contact details. So, if there are any changes to your address, email address or phone number please do let us know. You can also find on the website all the latest news on our projects, press releases and newsletters, as well as full copy of the Society’s Rules.

If you have any queries regarding any aspect of your investment or TRESOC in general we are always happy to help. You can contact us by telephone 01803 867431, email admin@tresoc.co.uk or via our website, and we’d be pleased to hear from you if you feel you could offer some of your time and/or skills to help develop the Society.

So that just leaves us to say thank you for helping to empower your community by being part of TRESOC.

We look forward to seeing you on 30th November.

AGM Member Survey Results

Thanks to those members who filled in surveys at our AGM back in December 2015.  Here are 3 general findings that support our role in the Community Energy movement:

  • Tresoc is raising awareness of the issues surrounding community renewable energy
  • Tresoc is seen to act responsibly in its decision-making and actions and is thought to be effectively consulting its members
  • Tresoc offers a viable alternative to conventional investing.

The full report can be downloaded here with lots of detail on the 9 questions we asked.

Find here a copy of the AGM Minutes and the Annual Accounts with the Director’s Report

Tresoc to make an operating profit in 2016

Tresoc’s AGM will take place on Wednesday, December 2nd, 7pm at St John’s Church, Bridgetown, TQ9 5AJ.  ALL WELCOME.  See what your investment has helped to achieve and what we’ll be doing next year.  Shine 1 and 2 were completed by late summer, Shine 3 has launched – solar on 15 additional properties will be registered before FIT payment rates are reduced in January.  The purchase of Hatchlands array is moving towards completion and we’re lining up hydro projects to give us excellent prospects for future growth. Here’s our 2015 AGM agenda and Directors’ Report. Highlights:

  • Member interest announcement
  • Guest speakers: Dr John Green, new Green District Councillor & Dan Hird, Head of Corporate Finance, Triodos Bank
  • Policy Director Olly Frankland’s quick guide to recent Government actions
  • Engineering Director Alastair Gets unveils our new data monitoring platform (working with local company, Argand Solutions)
  • Beer from New Lion Brewery

Totnes Weir hydro – £1.3m target reached

Fantastic news!  Dart Renewables Bond Issue raised £1.3m and has now closed.
The Dart Renewables 2015 bond issue to raise capital to finance completion of this iconic Totnes hydro scheme closed ahead of schedule as the target total of £1.3m was reached with 9 days to go.  About a fifth of the funds raised came from local investment.  Congratulations to Dart Renewables, who have worked diligently on the project for many years.

 

 

AGM success and next steps

GREAT NEWS! TRESOC members voted almost unanimously to accept bank loan finance and release our Share Issue investment of £258,000. As a result, we are now 1) progressing with Charity Bank loan documentation and 2) moving forward with the SHINE project – solar on the roofs of 77 Housing Association homes across the area. Next will come the purchase of the roof-mounted 50kW array at Hatchlands Farm. Then we can turn our attention to hydro and start organising our Creative Conversations, where we’ll open up the dialogue about the what, where, why and how of Community Energy.

View the minutes of the AGM and Director’s Report.

Members vote on extended boundary

When we set up the IPS – based on our understanding of ‘Community of Place’ – we marked out an area of shareholder benefit (vs. operation) as Totnes and its fifteen surrounding parishes. Download a pdf of our original Boundary_map  However, per member agreement at a Special General Meeting held on May 22, 2014, this reach broadened to a wider ‘Community of Interest’ described as ‘the community centred in Totnes and the surrounding area’.

A quick bit of background on that…

After extensive discussions and analysis of our financial modeling for TRESOC’s 2014 Share Issue, the Board have decided that the most appropriate way to raise finance is through share capital, or equity, rather than shares plus bonds.  As a natural follow-on from this decision – and in order to increase our potential for raising this share capital – came the proposal to remove the Totnes and Environs boundary, so as to invite people from just outside the boundary and further afield to become members.

This will also allow those directly involved in the projects, but who live outside the 15-parish boundary, to become members, e.g. South Devon Rural Housing Association’s residents and board.  It also gives us the opportunity to build awareness and support for Community Energy in the areas where our projects are located, e.g. Torquay Museum.  We also have a growing list of people who have an interest in the area (ex-residents, would-be residents, frequent visitors, friends and family) who would become eligible.

You can access a copy of the minutes of this Special General Meeting here.

Boundary Removal for More Local Investment

As we approach the opening of our Share Issue, we have an important bit of business to conduct.  Find out why removing our boundary makes sense at this point in our evolution and cast your vote at a Special General Meeting:  Thursday 22nd May at 7pm, Totnes Boating Association, Steamer Quay Road, Totnes, TQ9 5AL.
  Please join us, with tea/coffee/nibbles provided.  RSVP by emailing admin@tresoc.co.ukA full set of our existing rules found at the bottom of the page here or contact us if you would like a copy.
Proxy Form only
Explanatory letter to members with Proxy Form
SGM Agenda including the proposed rule change