An update on our new grant funding
Mike Andrews, September 2021
In February we announced that we had been awarded a substantial grant to permit expansion of The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project through the establishment of a new company to create a UK-wide social-franchise. We can now reveal that the grant has been provided by Energy for Tomorrow, which is a subsiduary of Centrica.
The new company, First Thermal Ltd, was founded on 30th March and needs to be for profit and limited by shares, but it will be operated firmly as a social enterprise with articles like a CIC, an asset-lock and limits on dividends. To demonstrate this, we aim to make it a B-Corporation (analagous to Fair Trade).
We are pleased that we have hit specified funding milestones at the end of June, so our funders will provide further substantial funding until end December 2003 to develop our two companies and the franchising model. By then, we anticipate that several replica franchisees will be operating and that we will be able to raise investment for further expansion.
The grants will be sufficient to employ:
- A full-time General Manger with experience of franchising - from October.
- 0.6 FTE CHEESE Survey Manager - from October.
These posts are currently advertised (here and here).
In the meantime, during lockdown, the Board have been busy developing the business model, including a new Heatview camera, blower door, on-line survey management system and revised training course.
Thanks to the help of our members, staff, volunteers and friends, our success together has led to this wonderful opportunity. Together we can look forward to making a real difference to carbon emissions and fuel poverty. The potential for expansion is enormous if we can get it right.
We plan to train more Energy Tracers in November, and start surveying in the autumn - this will, of course, depend on government regulations, and our own precautions for Covid.