Become a Director

At our online AGM this year, 3 of our Board members will be stepping down, including our Treasurer. We are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated Directors to join our Board. Could this be you? Find out more.

Current directors

The Network can have up to 9 Directors on the Board. Our current Directors are:

Faustina Atipoka Awane

Faustina’s aim is to improve the livelihood of communities through sustainable development programs, it is her passion and experience. Her community mobilisation skills can help facilitate community-led energy programs.

As an Environmental Health Officer with 16 years experience in Municipal and District Assemblies across Ghana, Faustina implemented community-led programs in water and sanitation and sustainable development initiatives for hundreds of communities. During that time she collaborated with NGO’s such as UNICEF, Water Aid, Rural Aid, and ADRA Ghana. She came to the notice of these large NGS’s after conference speeches and publishing papers. This also led to research with universities of Edinburgh, KNUST (Ghana) and Cooper Union (US) funded by the Royal Society.

Through a charity she set up in Ghana Faustina funded 90 boreholes taking 25,000 people out of water poverty; provided 150 household latrines, and delivered hygiene education to all the recipient communities over ten years. She is a determined and effective community worker with skills of mobilisation, communication and conflict resolution.

Faustina is a school Governor for Rosemary Nursery, and Warden at a Quaker Meeting House in Bristol, has a MSc in Environmental Health, a degree in Environmental Health and Sanitation and Diploma in Human Resources Management.

Caroline Bird

carolineCaroline is a researcher, currently based at the University of Bristol where she has been working on future energy skills, energy demand management, alternative forms of city governance, community energy, and with social enterprises in various sectors responding to climate change. Her research in 2013 helped BEN develop the groundbreaking Bristol Community Strategy for Energy and has fed into the national Community Energy Strategy. At the core is an interest in the broad issues of environmental sustainability and, more specifically, in community action, energy and climate change, sustainable environments and how interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approaches help develop practical solutions – particularly in cities.

Caroline has past lives in Civil Engineering and local government environmental policy and brings a breadth of sustainability knowledge and experience and a few useful skills to the board. She was also a director of Transition Montpelier and a member of the Montpelier Energy Group.

Jenny Howard Coles 

Jenny is from Bristol and works as a Senior Development Manager at Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) where she develops new ideas, projects and income streams for the organisation. She has worked in the local and community energy sector for seven years and has experience of developing and managing energy projects and services with domestic, commercial and public sector beneficiaries, collaborating with a variety of partners.

Jenny joined CSE following four years working for Plymouth City Council as a Low Carbon Officer and Business Developer for the award-winning community benefit society Plymouth Energy Community (PEC). Her varied role involved project, partnership and organisation development and management.

Jenny is especially interested in projects which link the sustainable energy and fuel poverty agendas with wider issues such as housing, education and economic development. She has an MSc in Architecture, advanced environmental and energy studies from the Centre for Alternative Technology where her research focused on community energy and local planning.

Mark Leach

Mark has worked in varied roles across public, private and charitable sectors.

Over a decade in local government has included coordinating the 2015 European Green Capital bid, supporting the Bristol 2015 company, managing the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, working on climate change policy, land-use planning policy, and providing BCC support to Bristol Energy Network, other community energy organisations and Bristol’s Community Strategy for Energy.

His background includes training and development, community development, and community and stakeholder engagement and consultation.

Mark is currently organising the Clean Air for Bristol engagement programme for Bristol City Council.

Laura Penny

Laura has worked in sustainability and energy utilities since 2011, across the public and private sectors in Bristol. Before launching her own consultancy business, Laura worked for Bristol Energy Limited as Innovation and Strategy Manager. She has developed and managed EU and UK grant funded energy innovation projects, motivated by an enthusiasm for smarter greener energy systems and community resilience. Laura also established Bristol’s No Cold Homes steering group, a collective of multidisciplinary organisations working together to alleviate fuel poverty.

Laura is a vocal advocate for empowering individuals and communities to enact positive change and an avid champion for social equity and energy justice, always ensuring that those who may benefit the most from innovative solutions aren’t left behind. She holds an MSc in sustainable environmental management and is also a Trustee for the West of England Rural Network.

Paul Phare

Paul has been working for the community energy sector in the UK since 2003.  He was involved with the first community owned wind farm in Scotland and won the prestigious Ashden Award for this and other projects.  Paul continued to support the development of charitable community energy projects in Scotland until 2008 when he joined Energy4All.  Since then Paul has delivered five shared ownership co-operatives in Scotland, including the Spirit of Lanarkshire Co-operative, which successfully raised £3m and owns a stake in two large commercial wind farms.  Paul was a founding member of Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op, the largest community owned rooftop solar project in the UK and is a founding member and currently Chair of Rumbling Bridge Community Hydro Society, the largest community owned hydro scheme in the UK. Find him on Linkedin.

Robert Smart

I am an environmentalist, SuperHome (Think Bristol Green Open homes!) owner (achieved over 70% carbon reductions through behavioural change and technology combined), researcher, sole-trader with 25 years’ experience of sustainability within a public- service organisation. New to Bristol, I bring experience of how to run a successful, constituted, community environmental organisation over twenty-years and have delivered low carbon innovation, saving over £250,000 per year, with a projected efficiency saving of over £2,000,000 on projects already in the ground and an expected payback on investment of under 3 years. I have trained as a Low Carbon Retrofit Coordinator and have delivered practical refit at scale.

Sam Willitts

Sam Willitts

Sam Willitts has worked in environmental roles across the public sector. He has been the Energy and Sustainability Manager at University Hospitals Bristol since 2010. Along with tackling carbon emissions through both engineering and behaviour change approaches; his efforts are focused on embedding sustainability in activities across the Trust.  Key successes in greening the Trust have been achieved through developing partnerships with organisations across Bristol and beyond. He is particularly interested in community led solutions to sustainability problems. He is a Director of Keynsham Community Energy. He has recently completed a One Planet MBA at Exeter University.

Rebecca Windemer

Rebecca has recently completed a PhD exploring the use of temporary planning consents for onshore wind and solar farms. More broadly, Rebecca’s research has focused on how the planning system can facilitate increased renewable energy production. Rebecca has experience in advising government policy on renewable energy including shaping policies on onshore wind repowering. She has a MSc in town planning and experience of working as a planning consultant. She is currently working as a policy analyst for for Business West where her work focuses on planning and environmental issues in Bristol and the surrounding area.


The 2020 Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday 4th November 2020 online.

Read about the 2020 AGM in this blog post and see the 2020 Directors Report

AGM 2019

AGM 2018

AGM 2017

Notes from earlier AGMs can be accessed from the ‘past events’ listings.

Board meetings

Board meetings are held regularly, usually on the first Wednesday of the month, to review activities of the CIC and ensure good governance.


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