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Thinking about providing an electric vehicle charging point?

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We know many organisations are thinking about hosting an electric vehicle charging point - not only for their staff, volunteers, and service users, but also for the wider community.  We are all for initiaitves that make our communities greener - and particularly in rural areas of Norfolk, that help to sustain our communities. That being said, charity Trustees need to think long and hard about how they go about this.  

Things to think about

Is it needed? 

"Of course!" you say - but actually, can you show that?  Does your community actually want a charge point?  Would it be used if you had one?  Maybe the people in your community considering an electric vehicle have also considered a home-charging point.  Or maybe the community has such good public transport links that people will be using that as a green alternative to driving.  We would always recommend consulting and engaging with your community and service users to make sure your work best meets their needs, and in this case it will be essential.  If you would like support on engaging with your community, please contact our Development Team.  

Where should it go?

Is your venue the best place for a charge point?  Is it an easily accessible location?  Think about how convenient it would be for someone living in the area, or, who just comes to the area for work or recreation.  Is your venue somewhere they can easily access whatever other venues they need to get to in the area?  Have you considered the necessary technological requirements?  These are just the big questions, and  hopefully, if you consulted with your community you will already have evidence that shows your venue is the ideal location (remember you should always suggest viable alternatives and ask for suggestions - if you are truly committed to valuing your community's input you need to make sure you ask open questions that allow for a genuine response). 

Have you got the space?

Do you have a suitable space that you could keep available for electric vehicle charging?  Will the loss of this space cause problems for your staff, volunteers, and service users?  It's an important consideration.  For example, many community buildings or charity offices only have limited parking.  If your carpark is regularly full, then can you really afford to make the space available?  Again, hopefully when you consulted your staff, volunteers, and service users you will have gathered evidence to show that they feel there is sufficient space for this without making it hard for them to come to you.

Does your governing document allow it?

This is very important.  Charities should only be carrying out activities that further their charitable purposes.  If your organisation's charitable purposes are to make improvements to the environment, or help your community be greener, then this is fine, but if not, you might need to think about how and why you are doing this, and if it furthers your charity's purposes.  (If you are not sure, we are always here to help). 

Do you need permission?

Depending on how you hold your property, you might need permission from a landowner.  Does your governing document require you to have a public vote to install something like this? 

Telling people it's there

You will need to tell people about the charge point, and this might be broader than your usual audience.  How will you promote the service?

How will people use it?

Whether it is open to the public, or only available for your staff and volunteers, you need to think about how people will access your charge point.  Will you have a booking system to ensure everyone has fair access?  Will the charge point be available out-of-hours, overnight, and / or at weekends?  Will the charge point be freely available for anyone to use, or will it only be available for specific people, and if so, how will you manage this?  Will you charge for the service? 

Finally, how will you fund it?

There is some government funding available (The Workplace Charging Scheme) and occassionally other sources of funding are available (please contact our Team if you need help finding funding).  However, long term, you will need to think about how you will pay for the maintenance of the charge point.  If you are planning on charging for the service, this might contribute to costs, but you will need to know how many people you need to use the service for it to be sustainable.  Hopefully your promotional plan will make sure you reach enough people to ensure it is used enough.  However, if you are not planning on charging for the service (for example, it's only available for people at your workplace to use) then you need to consider how you will budget for this.

As always, our Development Team are here to help with advice and information.  If you would like some support, please contact us on [email protected].