The following blog is a guest post from Daniel Heery, from Charge My Street – a platform co-op that installs and operates community chargepoints for electric vehicles, which is currently raising money through community shares.
An the first Open Conference back in 2017, I took part in the #DigiDen session with 2 other putative Platform Co-ops. We all pitched our ideas, were grilled by the Dragons and the audience voted on their phones for the best idea. At one point Rhino Charging, our electric vehicle charging co-op was winning the live vote. While part of me was excited, I would have to deliver the goods and go from “good idea” to implementation to reward the trust placed in it by delegates. Alas, we came second and I missed out on the £2000 prize. But “Rhino Charging” has gone from strength to strength, inspired by the open co-op ethos at the conference.
The session clarified the challenges that I was trying to meet. Living in a terraced house in Lancaster, I did not have anywhere to charge the electric car that I wanted to get, to help tackle climate change and local air pollution. It was a problem shared with others who did not have their own driveways or lived in rented accommodation. In 2018 with a group of like-minded people, we set up Charge My Street, a new Community Benefit Society with the ultimate goal for every home to be within a five-minute walk of a chargepoint to help decarbonise the transport sector.
Four chargepoints were installed in 2018, hosted on community venues and part funded by community shares. One of the big takeaways of Open Co-op conference was that size matters. We are now scaling up to install 100 new chargepoints over the coming 12 months, and we need investment through our community share offer.
We are raising £130,000 and we need co-op tech types who care about climate change to chip in at https://www.chargemystreet.co.uk/invest. We really believe that co-operative platforms like Charge my Street should be delivering the change – not fossil fuel companies that have a stake in the status quo. We have the ambition and we need your investment!