To get as far as the tender, we spent about £110,000, nearly all of it on professional services. A breakdown of where it went can be found in the 2016 annual report. Fortunately we had raised enough investment that the loss was an acceptable 13%. There were some wrong choices that cost time and money, but even if we had done everything right we would probably still have spent not far short of £100,000. And if we had really done it right, we would have started the legal steps earlier, and that would have added a substantial cost.
I am aware that there are other community hydro groups that have completed their projects, although some are not financially successful. The Thames is perhaps a more demanding site than most because there are so many interested parties. If at the beginning we were told that we would have to spend at least £100,000 and it could well be unsuccessful, would we have started?
The only answer I can give is that we held out a vision of something much broader than just green energy. Our members wanted to support it because they shared the vision. There was no pressure and no secrets. A lot of effort went into staying in touch, appearing at public events, and sending updates to members. The community ethos was important, and people were generous with their help, in a variety of ways.
The prospectus warned, three times in red, if you can't afford to lose it, don't invest. But our members thought it worth trying. They had been kept informed, and when we called a halt, many of them wrote, unasked: they were sorry of course, but they wanted to express their appreciation and thanks for our efforts. They had no criticism. We have planted seeds in the minds of many people, and who knows what fruit that might bear in future?
There is so much more that could be said!