NICE Share Offer Update

NICE Share Offer Update

We are very pleased to announce that we have raised £127,450 to date – 85% of our target! We thank you all for your contributions. The Board discussed the advantages of extending the share offer and agreed that a few more weeks can help us to reach our target of 150k and fulfil our plan to complete solar installations on 9 community buildings. To date 6 community groups have signed up with NICE and we have received in excess of 30 expressions of interest from other local community groups and social enterprises.   The following are those in this final stage agreement process for solar installation:- the Chinese Welfare Association, Rath Mor Creggan Enterprise Centre in Derry, Ashton Development Centre, YMCA Londonderry in addition to Mediation NI and Whitehead Community Association. The new share offer closing date is on the Tuesday, the 23rd June or the day that we reach the target amount. If you want to help us to spread the news, please do feel free to do so. As members you share ownership of NICE so please do not hesitate to contact us with any comments and ideas and we are happy to meet with any individual or group to talk about NICE and its project. In the coming weeks there are a number of local community events NICE plan to attend to share and talk about what we are doing.  Details of when and where we will be shall be posted on our social media pages and news page of the website.  Please feel free to join us at any of these events so we can put more faces to...
Open Source 2015 Event – 9th May

Open Source 2015 Event – 9th May

Karen Arbuckle, NICE Director is joining the Co-Operative Alternatives Clinic @ THE OPEN SOURCE 2015 EVENT which takes place at the Big Table – a temporary intervention on Lower Garfield Street, Belfast on Saturday 9th May @ 12 noon. Tiziana O’Hara, Director Co-Operative Alternatives is facilitating this clinic.  Have an idea about a co-operative? Want to know what you need to set it up? Need to find out more about co-ops and how they work? Not sure if a co-op model will be suitable? Take the opportunity and come to this clinic & get some information & tips on the spot. NICE is presenting as one of the most recent co-operatives currently supported by Co-Operative Alternatives.  Karen will be available on Saturday to share and answer any questions on NICE user experience & how the Co-Op was assisted and supported in bringing its community energy enterprise to fruition. The Open Source brings vibrancy to a vacant property and provides space for free workshops, performances and exchange of ideas throughout the day and into the early evening. Run by volunteers and made possible by the donation of the space, furniture, equipment and the artists’ time, The Open Source relies on the spirit of collectivism and collaboration to provide a dynamic and creative hub. The hub of The Open Source 2015 is Lower Garfield St Belfast.  The street will be buzzing with music, art, theatre, workshops, good food, interesting discussions, laughter and craic. All events at The Open Source are open to the public and free to attend. No booking is required but spaces are limited so arriving early is advised....
NICE Community Event YMCA Londonderry

NICE Community Event YMCA Londonderry

NICE were delighted to facilitate a North West community event at the YMCA Londonderry/Derry in liaison with the YMCA and Co-Operative Alternatives.  The event allowed NICE to showcase its community energy project, engaging & working in partnership with local communities to establish & develop community owned renewable energy projects. Karen Arbuckle, Nice Director explained “traditional energy companies aim to maximise their profit that reaches only a small number of individuals whereas NICE as a community owned co-operative is based on a decentralised & far more equitable model that helps the environment, helps the local community, & is built upon principles of fairness.  This is an investment in sustainable energy resources for the benefit of future generations”.  She added “NICE is run by members of the local community for the benefit of the local community”. Jo Bird of Co-Operative Alternatives explained the Co-operative models & how similar projects such as NICE could be established. She advised “Co-operatives are democratic enterprises trading for the benefit of a community and its membership. Their focus is local &  their practice is based on the co-operative values of equality, fairness & solidarity”. NICE brought its community share offer to fruition through Co-Operative Alternatives that have been commissioned by the Building Change Trust to deliver the “Community Shares, Ready!” programme of support, an alternative financing model that is suitable for many community groups, charities and social enterprises. YMCA Londonderry the latest third sector organisation to contract & benefit from NICE Co-Ops free solar PV installation generously hosted our North West event & were both happy to promote our initiative & appreciative of the benefit that they as a...
Ashton Centre, Belfast – another 3rd sector organisation in NICE ‘pipeline’

Ashton Centre, Belfast – another 3rd sector organisation in NICE ‘pipeline’

The Ashton Centre, Belfast is in the process of becoming one of NICE next 3rd sector organisation members. In so doing Ashton Centre will benefit from our free solar PV installation initiative plus enjoy significantly reduced electricity at a fixed rate for the next 20 years & be a member of NI’s first solar community energy co-operative! NICE has over 20 interested, Northern Ireland, 3rd sector organisations, at various stages in its pipeline, wishing to benefit from NICE local community energy renewable technology initiativeS – HOWEVER it is a case of ‘first come first served’ i.e. those organisations that can sign up to the final contract, will & are being processed by NICE for PV installation in date priority order. NICE target capital is £150k which will enable the Co-Op to undertake up to 9 installations and establish a community fund for roll-over into creating further community energy projects. Having extended the community share offer until 30th April – our investment total is currentlyjust over £100k – a fantastic achievement in a relatively short period. With you, or your organisation, association, groups interest & support we can reach our £150k target! Please take a look at our website http://www.nicommunityenergy.org/ & community share offer direct link http://www.nicommunityenergy.org/…/Community-Shares-Offer-D…. you can help NICE make a...
NICE Directors Visit Lackan Cottage Farm

NICE Directors Visit Lackan Cottage Farm

A sparkling gem in Co Down supports NICE  NICE Directors Anne Ford and Karen Arbuckle with Tiziana O’Hara journeyed to Ballyroney, Co. Down for the purpose of making Steve Golemboski-Byrne’s acquaintance. Steve has been the “man behind the scenes” who developed the NICE web presence and has been a great supporter of NICE from day one. NICE wanted to say a big thanks to Steve and during the visit learnt so much about Lackan Cottage Farm. Lackan Cottage Farm is a permaculture smallholding which enjoys a spectacular situation and beautiful vista of the Mourne Mountains.  It is obvious why Steve and Claire fell in love with this property over three years ago now and decided to make it their home.  Their smallholding features natural building, eco-renovation, renewable energies, permaculture gardens, forest gardens, regenerated & newly planted native coppice woodlands, waste water treatment systems, rainwater harvesting, small livestock & horses. A practical, lived-in permaculture demonstration site. Steve says “reusing, recycling and reducing our ecological footprint means coming up with creative solutions to everyday problems.  We have a constantly evolving design and our skills are ever developing with it as we implement and experience different techniques and ideas in organic food production, sustainable living and self-sufficiency”. Claire added “we are establishing a way of life that embraces a high degree of self-sufficiency in energy, food, water and waste that allows us to live first and work second.  Integral to our enterprise is the help and assistance we get from local and international volunteers.  Without their input, managing many aspects of our smallholding would be challenging to say the least”. Claire also...

Superb 50% Tax Relief – Your Investment May Qualify!

NICE has received very welcome confirmation from HMRC that our community energy share offer has been granted Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme Advance Assurance. This means if a UK taxpayer any investment in Northern Ireland Community Energy Co-Operative will qualify for SEIS tax relief currently 50%. A great incentive to become a member of NICE! NICE members and potential new investors should take their own financial and tax advice and are responsible for submitting your own tax relief applications. Please refer to the HMRC website for further information...
NICE SHARE OFFER EXTENDED

NICE SHARE OFFER EXTENDED

  NI Community Energy (NICE) as at 24th March has raised £78,700 in the 20 days since first launching the share offer! The Board convey their thanks to the local community and those further afield in Europe who have invested in NICE – the first solar community owned co-operative in Northern Ireland. The Board are delighted with the response received so far. However, we are not yet there. NICE still aims to install as many PV solar panels as our target share capital amount will allow so the Board has unanimously decided to extend the share offer deadline to 30th April 2015. More time gives the Board a further opportunity to promote the share offer – since we sensed a growth of interest in NICE, and more time means more opportunities to democratise our project. Extending the deadline also makes good business sense. If NICE raises its £150k capital via shares it will mean less reliance on borrowing from financial institutions that will, of course, result in better returns to the Community Fund and the shareholders, too! The Board also considered the recent Budget 2015 announcement (https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2015) in which the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme was providentially extended for at least a further 6 months for qualifying organisations. As you know, NICE is seeking advanced approval for SEIS from HMRC and if granted, this means eligible shareholders can claim tax relief of 50% of the value of their shares. As a result of the Budget extension, this relief will also apply for shares subscribed for and issued after the 5th April 2015. For the avoidance of doubt, please note that...
NICE share offer launched at Stormont

NICE share offer launched at Stormont

On the 3rd March, NICE launched their share offer in Stormont. The launch was hosted by the All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals and Chair, Steven Agnew said “ said “I am delighted to help launch this exciting Community Share offer. It is important that the benefit of public investment in renewable energy technology reaches as many people as possible including those who may be fuel poor. I am delighted that NICE will be investing any funds raised from this scheme into community energy saving initiatives to tackle fuel poverty. Schemes like this ensure that renewable energy investments provide a return for our economy and our community, as well as contributing to efforts to tackle climate...
Community Share offer coming soon

Community Share offer coming soon

  Northern Ireland’s first community-owned solar energy enterprise will launch a public Community Share offer next week on the 3rd March. NICE (Northern Ireland Community Energy) hope to raise £150,000 in order to begin installation of PV solar panels on buildings that are owned by third sector organisations such as community groups and charities. The new enterprise is the brainchild of a group of volunteers with a track record in renewable energy and co-operative models. They developed a community solar project that would allow them to create economies of scale, shared technical expertise, and to grow the knowledge base in Northern Ireland. They have identified a number of potential buildings and are working with the third sector groups to move forward; they have already completed a pilot on the roof of Mediation NI’s offices on University Street in Belfast. Other organisation that wish to participate are urged to contact NICE via its website This pre-launch installation demonstrates the directors’ commitment and confidence in the project as a whole and also gave them vital feedback from the business. Rob Colwell, office and finance manager of Mediation NI, said: “We were amazed at how straightforward and quick this has been. We discussed it with our board and two months later the panels were in place on the roof generating low cost electricity for us. We estimate that we will reduce our energy costs by 50% each year. This is a win-win situation – as an organisation we support green ideals and we are always trying to reduce our carbon footprint and save money. In addition, we liked that NICE is a...