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Third Social Investment Made by Tax Relief Fund in Bristol

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Bristol247 team

Bristol-based social enterprise, “Bristol 24/7” is a city magazine which has received investment from the Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund managed by Resonance. This unique fund has invested £150,000 into the magazine, a CIC, to enable it to offer greater work opportunities to young people from marginalised neighbourhoods.

Bristol 24/7 is a popular ‘free to the reader’ online (website, mobile app, digital) newsletter and monthly printed magazine, dedicated to celebrating Bristol, its people and their stories to help build stronger communities and communication between those communities. In addition to “What’s On” in the area, it covers social issues and current affairs that affect the people of Bristol.

Though the publication is a well-known Bristol brand, what is less well-known about the organisation is that it was set up as a Community Interest Company with a clear social mission to produce a compelling range of local content on a variety of formats to support and stimulate the City; and have a large part of that content, written and produced by young talent from marginalised neighbourhoods. These young people might otherwise not get the opportunity to gain work experience in journalism without a degree level education. Profits from the publication are ploughed back into the magazine to grow its social impact.

The founders of the CIC, Dougal Templeton and Mike Bennett, both media professionals, were conscious that Bristol is often referred to as a “divided city” with clear social, economic and cultural differences that mainstream media often portray in a negative way, further serving to exacerbate the challenges and inequalities that certain communities face. Most Bristol publications are aimed at a small number of Bristol wards, ignoring other communities, which have been under-represented and therefore underserved by the media. Bristol 24/7 uncovers positive stories of inspiring people across all the Bristol wards connecting them in a single publication where one community can learn more about what is happening not only in their own neighbourhood but that of others.

The investment from the Fund will help Bristol 24/7 set up local hubs in the various areas of Bristol allowing local people to contribute articles and photos that will be uploaded to the main site, whilst allowing them also to raise their own revenue from advertising. This creates a catalyst for career opportunities in media for those who are currently marginalised, whilst dissipating negative attitudes.

Dougal Templeton said of its investment from the Resonance Fund: “I heard about a new social impact fund being set up in Bristol and was delighted to find out that it was from Resonance, a social impact company which we feel shares our mission to “dismantle poverty” in our great city. This gives us the investment we need to take the social impact of our enterprise to the next level.”

Donna Thomas, Investment Manager from Resonance said: “Being a resident of Bristol, I knew of Bristol 24/7 but was delighted to discover that this very successful magazine also had a clear social mission behind it. Talking to the Bristol 24/7 team, it became clear that the investment they needed would make a big difference in the lives of young people who might like to work in journalism but would be unlikely to be considered in normal circumstances without a degree-level education or previous work experience. Resonance is engaging with many social enterprises in the city who are making real impact and need investment to do more – we want to speak to even more.”

One early success story has seen one of Bristol 24/7’s first work experience candidates Meena Alexander, who is from a BME background with no appropriate qualifications or media background, progress from a short stint of work experience, to a part time role with the magazine as editorial assistant and now a move to London where she is doing a journalism course at News Associates in Wimbledon. Meena has also landed a job at the Times on the production desk in the evenings.

Meena commented: “I really couldn’t think of a better place to start my journalistic career than Bristol24/7. I was thrown in at the deep end and treated like an important member of the team from day one – not a tea tray or photocopier in sight. I learned such a wide variety of skills that have been invaluable; from writing to editing, interviewing to photojournalism. I know I will be putting everything I learned about journalism at Bristol 24/7 to good use for years to come.”

This is now the third investment made by the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund into a Bristol social enterprise in the last 3 months, The Fund uses Social Investment Tax Relief to enable social enterprises to access more affordable, more patient finance, from individuals that share in their social mission, whilst still offering investors a financial return that reflects the risk. For many enterprises, this is the missing link that can help them access the finance they need to scale their social impact. For many investors, the tax relief puts social investment on a level playing field with their other investment opportunities, encouraging them to commit more investment to the issues they care about.

The Fund has raised £1.8m of investment to date and will remain open for eligible investors throughout 2016 with the aim of raising a total of £5m this year, and will then grow further in response to both the need for investment from social enterprises in Bristol and investor demand.

Further Information

Resonance is a social impact investment company. Our mission is to connect capital with social enterprise: something we have been doing across the UK for the last 14 years.

Our Ventures team works with individual social enterprises to raise investment, from investment readiness through to deal arranging. Our Funds team creates and manages impact investment funds, focused on the capital needs of multiple social enterprises. We have particular expertise in community-led projects, homelessness, education, health, social care, criminal justice, agriculture and renewable energy. Resonance has just under £100m under management across its five operational impact investment funds.

With offices in Bristol, Launceston, Manchester and London and a team of over 30, Resonance is helping to build the market for social investment in practice.

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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