Whalley Hydro are seeking investors who wish to become members of a community benefit society that has constructed a hydro-electric plant at the weir on the river Calder at Whalley. The project costs are £750,000 and originally the plan was to raise £400,000 via community shares and fund the remaining £350,000 with a bank loan, however the £400,000 was successfully raised earlier in the year and although Whalley Hydro has secured a bank loan to complete the project, they would much prefer to:- enlarge the shareholder base to enable them to pay off the loan and incur lower interest payments,- allow more local people to engage with the project,- begin investing in other carbon saving projects earlier. Therefore the prospectus has been revised to reflect changes that have taken place since it was first issued last year. Construction is now complete and the plant has been handed over from the contractors on schedule and in budget. The 100kW hydroelectric generating plant is installed on the south side of the River Calder at Whalley, Lancashire. It utilizes an historic weir which has been in place for over 600 years when it was built to supply water to Whalley Abbey. Later, in the 19th Century it was used to power the local Abbey Corn Mill which ran until the 1950s. Now this electricity generation project takes the story into the 21st century. The scheme is designed to protect and enhance the river, its environment, biodiversity and appearance.Whalley Hydro was awarded UK Community Energy Start-Up of the Year award 2014.
The current directors are unpaid and do not expect to be paid for their work in future. If they seek re-election at the first annual meeting of the society, they will be required to justify their wish to be re-elected. Graham Sowter, DirectorGraham has had a varied working career spanning 40 years including periods as a research chemist, chemical plant manager, labour relations specialist, printing factory director, self-employed computer consultant and college lecturer. He has been active in his community in a variety of roles and served on the Ribble Valley Borough COuncil for 13 years including a three year stint as chair of the Community and Environment COmmittee. He was a Parish Councillor for 20 years.Tim Ashworth, Director Tim is a retired engineer. He holds a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough College. He has been a manager of research and development, measurement and control systems and technical service to the paper manufacturing industry, primarily in Northern Europe/Scandinavia. Speacialist knowledge of more energy efficient pressing and drying systems led to presentation of technical papers worldwide as well as to a number of grants of UK and European patents.Chris Gathercole, DirectorChris formerly worked in the NHS, developing community services for people with learning disabilities previously housed in large institutions. He has experience of setting up social enterprises introducing and disseminating approaches to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities – one introducing supported employment in the UK and one for citizen advocacy in the NW of England. Both involved setting up training and conferences to bring about widespread social change. He has been a long standing member of Friends of the Earth and was a founder member of Transition Town Clitheroe. Bill Wilkinson, DirectorBill is a chartered mechanical engineer who started his working life at British Aerospace, later moving into the NHS, managing hospital infrastructure at several sites in the north west. Bill has been advising WCHL on contracts and is acting as project supervisor during the construction phase. He has recently retired as Director of Estates at Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in Whalley where he has been responsible for managing the Trust’s property portfolio, introducing a wide range of low carbon technologies which have significantly reduced the energy consumption of the Trust’s estate. He played an extremely useful part in our final negotiations with the main contractor and brings valuable additional expertise to the Board.David Lynch, SecretaryDavid has worked as a qualified chartered accountant with many small and medium sized businesses, including many limited companies, covering statutory work, preparation of accounts, taxation, cash flow statements and management accounts.
What are the risks?Your investment is fully at risk. If the business fails, you may lose some, or all, of the money you have invested. Whilst we firmly believe that the business will be profitable, it is important to note that there are associated risks. All of these risks are assessed in the prospectus which can be downloaded from the "Offer Document" tab.Key risks include:- Prolonged equipment failure.- Failure to meet the level of output promised by the installer.- Prolonged drought and an inability to generate electricity.- Construction is not completed (although it is underway and scheduled to complete by November 2014).- Weir collapse and damage to the installation from floods and the ingress of floating debris.- Power price decline.- Government backs out of Feed in Tariff.How does the community scheme work?If you choose to make an investment you will become members of Whalley Community Hydro Limited. Whalley Community Hydro is an Industrial and Provident Society run for the benefit of the local community. All our members will have a say in how the business is run and in who runs the business. You will be a co-owner of an enterprise that will operate initially a single hydro-electric plant, but once that is up and running will seek to expand into other areas of energy generation and energy conservation. What should I think about before I invest?Because the scheme is dependent on the river flow, returns will go up and down and be seasonal. The minimum investment term is three years so ask yourself whether you can you afford to investment your money without access to it for 36 months. Your money is at risk, can you afford to lose all or part of it?When can I get my money back?You are required to keep your investment in the enterprise for at least three years. This period will fund from the day that electricity is generated. After that time, the investors will be required to give three months notice of their intention to withdraw funds. The company rules will give the directors the power to refuse a request to withdraw funds if it will endanger the business. It is our firm intention not to use these powers unless absolutely necessary. How can I sell my investment?Whalley Community Hydro Limited are confident there will be a waiting list of new members ready to replace investors that withdraw funds. The shares that members buy are redeemable in the way set out in the prospectus, but they are not transferable (i.e. people cannot sell them to anyone else). When will the returns be paid?Each year, the directors will recommend what interest rate should be paid on share capital. This recommendation will be voted on at the annual general meeting. The IPS rules determine any surplus made by the society, after it has paid a dividend to its shareholders must either be reinvested in the business or used for public benefit.How will I be kept up to date on how my investment is performing?You will receive annual updates after the Directors have met to recommend the rate to be paid.What is the maximum I can invest?Note that since the offer was launched the maximum shareholding has been revised from £20,000 to £40,000 and the offer remains open.
Funding duration: October 23 2014 - September 30 2015 (23:59 GMT)
This project will close fundraising once it has raised £650,000.
Whalley Community Hydro Limited is a registered society for the Benefit of the Community, (Company registration number 31253R, dated 3 May 2011).
You can read more about the Financial Conduct Authority's treatment of registered societies here.
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