Catherine Ayres explains her motivations for investing £10,000 in Stockwood Community Benefit Society.
When asked why I invested in the Stockwood CBS, the answer comes to me very easily: both my head and my heart knew it was a sound investment.
I had been weighing up various investment options when I serendipitously stumbled across a link to Stockwood CBS on Twitter (somewhat restoring my faith in all things Twitter: social media is such a mixed blessing at times).
I have had the enormous fortune to visit Rush Farm in my capacity as a Dr Hauschka brand ambassador (Elysia Natural Skin Care, based in Stockwood Business Park, is the sole importer and distributor for the Dr Hauschka range of skincare products within the UK).
I have also had the good fortune to attend talks by Sebastian Parsons, Elysia CEO and founder of Stockwood CBS. He really is an amazing person; a rare mix of business flare and environmental vision, a far cry from the image of biodynamic farming sometimes portrayed by the media (any mention of moonlight and they disappear into the realms of witchcraft, sorcery and voodoo).
One of the key things that I have learnt via my involvement with Elysia is that as individuals we have the power to make a difference, or to put it in rather clichéd terms, “Every drop makes an ocean”.
I knew that whether I invested £100 or £20,000, my investment would count; that I would be a valued member of the community.
This was a chance not only to make a profit (my head is sternly telling me this is an important consideration) – 5% return is a pretty competitive rate – but to make a real difference in terms of education and environment. Goodness knows I bang on enough about the these topics; it’s nice to have a chance to put my money where my heart is for a change.
I was very pleased when the opportunity to co-own Rush Farm landed in my in-box. I can’t imagine a better gift for my children than shares in Stockwood CBS – maintaining the connection I have with Rush Farm which, as the home of Elysia, has been the centre of my working life for the last 14 years.
From my first day working with the company, Elysia connected deeply with my principles and values in ways that weren’t immediately clear. I gradually became conscious of being part of something, and the difference it makes to work with purpose.
Education, close to my heart, is also at the heart of Stockwood CBS. My first born, Abigail, was one of the first children in the Elysia kindergarten, just as I had been one of the first to be trained at the Elysia training centre in 1999!
In those early days Rush Farm was simply the beautiful setting of the business park. Now the principles and purpose are ploughing the land itself.