Project snapshot

Installation of heat pumps and solar panels
Provide the farm with warm air in winter and cool air in summer, powered by clean, renewable energy systems

The cause

Stockwood Community Benefit Society, based at Rush Farm in Worcestershire, owns and manages 150 acres of biodynamic farmland and a business park with 27 units.  It was set up with the intention of fostering community amongst local people, to develop a site for climate-conscious working and to increase the production of good quality, nature friendly-food.  

The Society has more than 400 members and was formed in 2012 to resolve a succession problem by transferring ownership of Rush Farm from private hands into the safekeeping of the local community.

Rush Farm has a long and illustrious history including a place in the story of the long-running BBC Radio 4 series The Archers.  In the 1950s the creator of the programme, Godfrey Baseley, was a frequent visitor and friend of the owners.  The cast were photographed for the Radio Times sitting around the fireplace and several episodes were recorded in the kitchen.

Our support

Stockwood have had a relationship with CAF Bank since 2014, and in October 2023 we were proud to provide them with CAF Bank’s first ever Green Loan.

“Our connection with CAF Bank started because our values aligned,” explains Chris Burdett, CEO of Stockwood.

"CAF Bank make a personal connection and visit so you can articulate what is happening,” he says.

The CAF Bank Green Loan has assisted Stockwood to continue farming using environmentally beneficial methods. It has also re-financed the installation of a ground source heat pump, and 170 solar panels which last year generated 37,000kWh of electricity (enough to power 13.7 homes). These provide a system of clean renewable energy for heating and cooling Stockwood’s on-site business park.

Our collaboration with CAF Bank supports our mission to enhance our environment and engage with communities in an economically sustainable way.

Chris Burdett
Stockwood Community Benefit Society

The impact

“Our collaboration with CAF Bank supports our mission to enhance our environment and engage with communities in an economically sustainable way.  We enjoy excellent communication, and they even visit us here at Stockwood!”

More than 80 people work at Rush Farm and Stockwood Business Park, alongside a herd of traditional Hereford cattle and a flock of Lleyn Sheep, with a wider community of more than 150 people connected to the site.  As well as providing food, employment, volunteering opportunities, and a return on investment for members, Stockwood Community Benefit Society champions eco farming, social impact, and renewable energy.  Future sustainability plans include utilising new technology to introduce a small-scale on-site waste-to-energy system. Having been a pioneer project for ground source heat at scale, Stockwood are hoping to be an early adopter of this exciting new technology.

Need help to bring your idea to life?

CAF Bank Green Loans are designed to provide the funding you need to help your charity or social enterprise achieve your sustainability goals.  To find out more, please get in touch with a member of our specialist lending team.

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