The way that we have been running our societies and economies hasn’t been working for most life on earth, including most people, for some time.

Most people would agree that we want a world where:-

Whichever way you look at it – we have been failing on all of these goals for some time and so we have to reassess how we are doing things.   

We have been doing business and running our society in a way that has led to:-

A key feature of our current broken system is the concentration of wealth, assets and resources – and so power – in the hands of a small group of mega wealthy individuals and corporations. This hasn’t worked out too well for everyone else, so a great way of trying something different is to help get key resources into community hands.

If you are an impact investor or a philanthropist you will want to achieve maximum positive impact from your money, and here we share some ideas on how you can do that by supporting community projects.

But we are all members of our communities – and here we also give some ideas on how we can all help people to make taking care of, and sharing care of their communities, the fundamentals of life.

Community energy

Community energy is all about people owning the means of supply of cleaner renewable energy at a community level.

What is community energy?

Community energy companies are run with the aim of providing affordable renewable energy to schools and other organisations and businesses and investing any profits back into the community, for example to fund energy efficiency support or nature restoration.

Why community energy?

To minimise dangerous climate change we need to urgently phase out use of polluting fossil fuels and to do that we need to:-

Renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, are undoubtedly much less harmful than fossil fuels, but all forms of energy production have harmful impacts on life on earth, in terms of driving demand for resources and rare minerals and so destroying land and habits through mining, or creating waste or harming wildlife through building pipelines/cables across land or seabeds etc.

So wind and solar power are great, but to minimise harm to life on earth we still need to produce energy from renewable sources as efficiently as possible and where it is most needed.   Community energy projects do just that, focusing on creating energy on, and delivering it to, schools, community groups and local businesses, shortening the supply chain and channelling the financial benefits from energy production back into the communities and not into the pockets of the very energy companies who have caused dangerous climate change and fuel poverty.  

Helping to increase community energy production not only speeds up transition from fossil fuels in a very direct and immediate way, it also puts control over energy in the hands of communities and so provides protection for schools and other community organisations from high energy prices.

If you are an impact investor looking to maximise sustainable and social impact for your money, arguably it helps to get your money as close to the impact as possible.

Unlike investing in funds, or funds of funds, when you invest in community energy you are getting your money as close to the impact as possible, without tier after tier of leakage into the pockets of bankers and other city bods. Now of course we need these great financial minds for massive energy projects – but then that’s why we like community level projects so much.

Renewable energy is great, but community owned renewable energy is even better.

Now we do need to point out the downside to all this. When you invest in community energy, none of your money is going towards the massive bonuses paid out to energy company bosses.   Sorry about that, but hey, you can’t have everything!

To find out more about community energy check out:-

Definition, impact and sector potential | Community Energy England

How can you invest in community energy?

Community energy projects are mostly funded through share or bond offers which offer a moderate rate of financial return.

In impact investment terms we see this as high impact, low risk, moderate financial return.

Whilst its obviously great to invest in community energy projects in your area, there’s no need to stop there.   You can invest in community energy projects throughout the UK.

To find out about current opportunities to invest in community energy check out:-

Share Offers | Community Energy England

Ethical Crowdfunding Investments | Triodos Bank (

Latest investment opportunities on Ethex

Speeding up community energy with bridging loans

We (Tim Stumpff, Julia Davies and a small group of others) provide bridging loans to community energy companies to help them progress renewable energy installations before they have raised all of the funds needed to pay for them.   

Here’s some examples of where we have done this:-

Want to join us in our Power to the People mission?

We hope that by sharing what we are doing we will inspire others to do the same.

If you would like to help provide bridging finance for community energy, or you are a community energy company looking for help, please contact Tim at

Community land

Current land ownership isn’t working too well.

“Land ownership in Britain is highly concentrated and unequal: just 1% of the population own half the land in England, while in Scotland just 432 landowners own 50% of the private land. This isn’t only an issue of social and economic inequality; it also poses major problems for transforming the way we use land in order to address the climate and nature crises.”  Guy Shrubsole – Who owns England?

State of Nature

Dynamic content – same as first para of Funding nature

Right to Roam

The mental and physical benefits of access to nature and green spaces is clearly documented. Despite this, we the public are allowed access to only 8% of English land. Of the 92% of land we are excluded from, only 6% is built on, and 56% farmed. So that’s a lot of land that’s not feeding us or providing a home or business premises, which we are kept out of.

Even worse, we are allowed access to only 3% of English rivers.

50% of English land is owned by 1% of its population. Meanwhile, 1 in 8 families have no access to a garden, and in Tower Hamlets, London, 40% of families have no garden.

Recommended reading:

Rebirding: Restoring Britain’s Wildlife by Benedict Macdonald

Rewilding: The Radical New Science of Ecological Recovery by Paul Jepson and Cain Blythe

The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes

The Trespasser’s Companion by Nick Hayes

Who Owns England?: How We Lost Our Land and How to Take it Back by Guy Shrubsole

We believe that communities make better custodians of land. Find out more here.

Better custodians of land

As current land ownership isn’t working well, we believe that part of the solution is to get as much land as possible in the caring and sharing custodianship of communities. By this we mean owned by charities or not for profit organisations set up to manage and care for land for people and nature. These range from:-

We don’t believe that we can trust our government to look after our land in the long term.    From the Thatcher government selling off school playing fields, to the Conservative government trying to sell off our forests, to the numerous other examples of our land quite literally sold from under us – the government has proved itself a poor custodian. We could be forgiven for thinking that it has quite literally sold off our family jewels to foreign investors, in that our water companies are now owned predominantly, not just by foreign companies but even by foreign governments, leading to a monumental and catastrophic lack of investment in our water systems and ecological death of our rivers.

How to do it?

We need to help communities to prepare and be ready to act when land comes on the market.

We want to share here tips and sign posts to information. If you have suggestions please share by contacting us at

In the meantime, here’s some starting points:

Sorry, that’s as far as we’ve got. We’ll be back to add more soon, but please do feel free to help us!

Community food

There are an increasing number of great organisations producing food at a community level.   These groups need funds to buy land and operate.   Examples include:-

Community homes

With house prices putting home ownership out of reach of many people and rents ever rising – access to good quality, secure housing provided by socially minded landlords is vital. Add to this the need for affordable energy so that people aren’t at the mercy of energy companies profiteering on the back of an energy crisis.

Here are some examples of innovative community groups who are filling this need:-