* pictured above: Ed Davey, Energy & Climate Change Secretary and Bilgen Tuncay, Groundwork Green Doctor
Residents from Woodberry Down estate in Manor House, North London helped Ed Davey, Energy & Climate Change Secretary (pictured above) launch the government’s new community energy strategy yesterday at the Manor House PACT (Prepare, Adapt, Connect, Thrive) project.
The minister joined the residents and heard how they are supported by Groundwork’s award-winning Energy Advisors or ‘Green Doctors’, to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their fuel bills.
Groundwork’s Green Doctors, many of whom are local volunteers, are trained to visit people’s homes to offer them energy saving tips and practical advice. The advisors offer a range of support from installing basic energy saving measures such low energy light bulbs, draught proofing and radiator panels to talking to residents about simple ways to save energy and water in their homes. They also offer advice and guidance on switching tariffs or energy providers to help people find the cheapest tariff for them.
The government’s community energy strategy, which sets out plans to broaden support available for community energy projects, will help people come together to reduce their energy use or purchase and generate their own energy.
Ed Davey said, “We’re at the turning point in developing true community energy. The cost of energy is now a major consideration for household budgets, and I want to encourage groups of people across the country to participate in a community energy movement and take real control of their energy bills.
“Community-led action, such as collective switching, gives people the power to bring down bills and encourage competition within the energy market.”
Fatma Gokay, a local resident, met the minister during his visit. Speaking about her experience of Groundwork’s Green Doctors, she said, "My energy advisor helped me make some changes to my flat and to think about how I can use less energy and water. The energy monitor is really helpful as now I can see how much energy I use day by day. I was really surprised when my next quarterly bill was down by almost £50 - these savings will make a real difference to my family."
Emily Jewell, Senior Energy Services Manager at Groundwork London said, “By training local people as energy saving champions, they are able to work in their own community helping their neighbours to save energy and money. This approach has proved to be really successful and is helping spread the word about energy savings across the Woodberry Down estate and into the wider community.”
The £1million Manor House PACT partnership project run by The Manor House Development Trust in partnership with Groundwork is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably programme and is shaping a sustainable future for local residents.
For further information, contact:Garry Campbell, Communications Manager, Groundwork UK on 0121 2375811 or 07703535841
- Groundwork London is delivering home energy efficiency visits to vulnerable households helping them to save energy, lower their fuel bills, tackle fuel poverty and address behaviour change as part of the Manor House PACT (Prepare, Adapt, Connect, Thrive) project, a 3 year partnership project with the Manor House Development Trust, operating in the Manor House, North London. Over the length of the project Groundwork will make two home visits to 900 vulnerable households at risk of fuel poverty. Over 80% of residents the Energy Advisors have visited so far in the Manor House PACT initiative were considered to be in fuel poverty (as defined by government).
- Manor House PACT is a £1million project run by Groundwork and is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably programme. For more information on Manor House PACT visit: http://www.manorhousepact.org.uk/
- Communities Living Sustainably is a Big Lottery Fund initiative which aims to encourage behaviour change among individuals and communities so they can cope better with the environmental, economic and social impacts of a changing climate. 12 community partnerships of public, private and voluntary sector bodies were awarded up to £1m each to deliver up to five years of community led sustainability interventions. For more information on the Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably programme visit: http://www.communitieslivingsustainably.org.uk/
- The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
- The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn. Visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk for more information.
- Groundwork London was awarded a Community Action Award 2013/14 in the category of tackling fuel poverty in vulnerable groups for The Manor House PACT Energy Advisors project. The scheme is run by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action with funding from DECC and British Gas.
- Groundwork is a member of the Community Energy Coalition, a group of 32 large membership organisations representative of the sector.