Structure & governance
The TreeStation is a not-for-profit Social Enterprise constituted as a Society for the Benefit of the Community (BenCom). BenComs are a form of Industrial and Provident Society (IPS), and are a type of co-operative enterprise. We are managed by an elected Board of Directors and owned by our members, who are our community shareholders.
Our members (shareholders) are our supporters, customers, employees and directors. They have the right to attend the Annual General Meeting, to stand for election as a director, and to vote on issues of importance. All shareholders have one vote, regardless of the number of shares they hold, making it a more democratic organisation than a traditional limited company.
Shares in BenComs are a form of ethical investment: members receive a yearly fixed interest agreed by the members at the AGM. Unlike shares in normal limited companies, IPS/BenCom shares cannot be sold, although they can be repaid at par by the Society. They are also an ethical and affordable way for the TreeStation to raise capital. Any financial surplus will be re-invested in the TreeStation or will be used to support other projects for the benefit of the community.
Anyone can join us, find out more on our membership page.
For more information on how our Society is run and how directors are elected from the membership, please have a look at our rules here.
Our registered number is 31552R, and the registration is held at the Financial Services Authority (FSA Mutuals) rather than at Companies House.
2003 – Phil Benn started trading as Ecos, a sole trader in sustainable treework and firewood
2006 – The TreeStation project began to take form as the natural evolution of Ecos
2008 – Greater Manchester TreeStation (GMTS Ltd) incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee with not-for-profit social enterprise rules.
2009 – TreeStation awarded £137,000 of grant support from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) through the Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme (BEIS), which funded the purchase of essential plant and machinery
2011 – Planning permission granted on the yard on Vaughan Street in West Gorton , allowing the business to move from 3 sites to a single one, greatly simplifying logistics.
––––– £80,100 raised in loanstock, which covered the costs of security measures, moving the stock and assets of TreeStation and Ecos to the new site; and to start to purchase feedstock for the woodchip biomass business.
––––– Ecos bought by the TreeStation
2012 – Constitution changed to become a Society for the Benefit of the Community (BenCom), a structure fitting our ethos & activities best.
––––– £140,000 raised from about a hundred new members as part of share issue.
––––– TreeStation becomes an Arboricultural Association Approved Contractor
2013 – Creation of a Quality Management System
2014 – £130,000 raised in our Share Offer
––––– Reach over 20 FTE members of staff to keep up with growth
2016 – Turnover increased by 38% on previous year, exceeding £500,000 for the first time.