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The team

Meet our volunteer directors

We are run by a volunteer board of directors. Members elect the board at an annual general meeting on a three-year rotation to manage the affairs of the society.  

The directors bring together a wealth of skills and experience in the sectors of social enterprise, energy, engineering, business systems and fundraising. Board members donate their time to carry out their director duties in managing WOCoRe and do not claim expenses.

Benedikt Barthelmess

Benedikt is an economist and certified project finance analyst. He has worked as an infrastructure banker on the financing of a number of utility-scale power projects over the years, including solar PV and wind farms ranging from 10 to several 100MW in capacity. As part of his work, he has developed a keen interest in the challenges posed to our energy system by the transition of energy generation to renewable sources and the solutions that are being explored, including here in Oxford. Benedikt lives in New Hinksey and previously lived in Osney.

Simon Collings

Simon has long been concerned about climate issues and the promotion of renewable energy. He worked in international development for many years, including 16 years with Oxfam (the last six as Fundraising Director), then as CEO for another charity. In his most recent job he was a director of a non-profit: Energy for Impact, working on off-grid energy access programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, with funding from the UK government and the World Bank, and gaining experience of small-scale solar and small hydro schemes.

Locally, he helped mobilise engagement with Project Local Energy Oxfordshire in the Osney community, and is a member of the Oxford Flood Alliance, which he founded with other flood-affected people in 2007. He has lived in Oxford for nearly 50 years and in Osney since 1999.

Dr Barbara Hammond

Barbara is WOCoRe Chair. She has worked as an academic focused on sustainable development and as a civil servant running the UK renewable energy programmes. During this time she set up the first capital grants programmes to support renewable energy technologies. She worked for Sir David King during his time as Government Chief Scientific Advisor. This included developing a programme of international meetings and events through which the UK could influence international partners, particularly the USA, on the importance of climate change as an issue in the run up to the UK presidency of the G8 and the EU in 2005. Subsequently Barbara worked as Low Carbon Economy Director at the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Barbara is now CEO of the Low Carbon Hub. She has a degree in modern languages, a doctorate in sustainable urban design, and is qualified as a landscape architect and urban designer. Barbara was awarded an MBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List for services to the development of community energy, especially in Oxfordshire.

Ruth Finar

Ruth has worked as an information scientist and a computer systems and business analyst in the private and public sectors. She has been a partner in an information management consultancy, and was research and planning manager and a project consultant for local government social services and community care departments. Ruth has a diploma in gestalt psychotherapy,  and has retired from self-employment as a UKCP-registered psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice. She is particularly interested in the psychology of responses to environmental issues, and was a member of the Ecopsychology Group of PCSR – Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility.

Ruth has lived in west Oxford for some 20 years, was a founder member of West Oxford Waste-Watchers (one of the first of Oxfordshire’s Community Action Groups), a founding trustee and Treasurer of Low Carbon West Oxford. She is a graduate in economics and sociology and has a masters degree in information management.

Saskya Huggins

Saskya has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary sector and has worked with a wide range of organisations, from entirely volunteer-run initiatives to national and global charities such as Comic Relief, UNICEF and Oxfam. During this time, Saskya has been involved in strategy development, fundraising, multi-agency collaborative projects and corporate social responsibility. 

She is Social Impact Director at the Low Carbon Hub, the Oxfordshire based community-owned energy business working to power the transition to a zero-carbon energy system. She is a holds a natural sciences degree, qualifications in voluntary sector management, and in 2011 studied social marketing at the Open University. Saskya lives in Oxford with her husband and two children.

Ali Lloyd

Ali has worked in the UK energy industry for over 30 years in a variety of commercial management roles. He currently works for an economic consultancy based in Oxford, providing commercial advice to large renewable energy projects. Ali has a detailed knowledge of electricity market policy and regulations, particularly in relation to renewable energy. In a previous role he was responsible for managing commercial aspects of a large renewable power station. Ali holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.

He lives on Osney Island with his wife and two children, and was involved in the Osney Island residents’ group which initially developed the idea for a hydro scheme at Osney Lock.

Paul Spencer

Paul has worked in the renewable energy and environmental sector for over a decade. He currently works for a local public-sector organisation, coordinating its carbon and energy management plan. This includes implementing and developing low-carbon and renewable-energy projects. Paul launched and for six years ran a successful international renewable energy magazine, during which time he became convinced of the massive contribution that renewables can make to the global energy mix. He holds a science PhD and professional qualifications in energy assessment and energy management.

Paul lived on Osney Island for three years from 2000. He was a founding member of the residents’ group that began looking at ways to channel water power from Osney Lock weir to generate clean electricity. He currently lives in Woodstock with his wife and three children.


West Oxford Community Renewables Limited was registered as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community on 16th June 2009 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

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