A Parliamentary Motion congratulating community wind farm Point and Sandwick Trust on winning a major UK award has been put forward by Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie.
Point and Sandwick Trust, which runs the biggest community wind farm in the UK at its Beinn Ghrideag site just outside Stornoway, was named UK Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year 2018 at a ceremony in Guild Hall, London, last week.
The judges said Point and Sandwick Trust was “a classic example of how a social enterprise can generate profit for social good whilst nurturing the environment”, adding: “Plans for the world’s first sea-going hydrogen powered ferry are particularly exciting.”
The award was received by wind farm developer Calum MacDonald who said he was “surprised but delighted” to win – and John Finnie put forward his Motion of congratulations the following day.
The Motion was supported by five other MSPs. There were: Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland; Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin; Joan McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland; Kenneth Gibson, SNP MSP for Cunninghame North; and Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife.
The motion read: “That the Parliament congratulates Point and Sandwick Trust on being named the Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year at the Social Enterprise UK Awards 2018; notes that the awards recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the achievements of people working at the heart of the sector; understands that funding managed by the trust is gifted from the profits created by ownership and operation of the Beinn Ghrideag community wind farm; understands that the three-turbine 9MW scheme is built on common grazing land on the Isle of Lewis and is the biggest community wind farm in the UK; congratulates everyone who works so hard to make the trust a success, and wishes them all the best for the future.”
It is Point and Sandwick Trust’s third award this year and fourth so far. Earlier this year, the Trust won the ‘Celebrating Communities’ award from the Scottish Charity Awards. That was followed on November 6 by the Scottish title of Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year 2018 at the Scottish equivalent of the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held in the Scottish Parliament.
The Trust was automatically shortlisted for the UK Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year award because of its success in the Scottish awards. It was shortlisted alongside seven other environmental social enterprises, across England and Wales, some of which operate internationally.
Calum MacDonald, who developed the Point and Sandwick Trust wind farm, expressed his thanks to the Highlands and Islands MSP and others for their support in the Scottish Parliament.
“I’m very grateful to John Finnie and the five Parliamentary colleagues who signed this Motion.
“John has been a great supporter of the rights of crofting communities to develop their own community schemes on common grazings, which is a profound principle that the island communities are trying to defend in their legal fight against EDF which starts this month.”
Of the award itself, Calum said: “This is a tribute, of course, not just to Point and Sandwick Trust but to all the community energy groups in the Western Isles that have transformed the sector in recent years. Collectively, they have generated the biggest commercial investment into the islands ever and the profits are being distributed for community benefit from Barra up to the Butt of Lewis.”
Angus McCormack, Honorary President of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the MSP, Mr Finnie, has given us his support and this UK award is a clear demonstration of just how significant social enterprises are to the future of Scotland.”
Norman Mackenzie, Chair of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “Thanks to John Finnie for his motion of support. It’s greatly appreciated by everyone at Point and Sandwick Trust.”
He added: “This a fantastic achievement for Point and Sandwick Trust and everyone involved in its development to this stage should be extremely proud. I would like to pay tribute to the originators of this project – in particular, Calum MacDonald, Donald John MacSween and Angus McCormack.
“We need to recognise that without their vision and dogged determination against considerable odds we would not be in the position where Point and Sandwick is home to a multiple award-winning social enterprise.
“We have always known that Point and Sandwick Trust’s model of community-owned wind farms is one that maximises benefit for the local community and the fact that our success is recognised at a national level underlines that belief.”
Point and Sandwick Trust | http://www.pointandsandwick.co.uk