Residents train as energy advisers with the help of E.ON fund
Published by NigelHowle for Staffordshire Housing Group in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Communities, Environment
Left to right (standing) Emma Griffiths, Regeneration Programme Manager for SHA, and Jules Hill, Home Energy Adviser for SHA. Sitting, Maggie Fitton, resident and volunteer, and Margaret Montgomery, resident and volunteer.
Hundreds of vulnerable households offered energy saving advice and support through fund provided by E.ON
Residents have been trained to offer energy saving advice to their friends and neighbours in an innovative community programme.
Staffordshire Housing Association and energy advisory services Beat the Cold and NEA (National Energy Action) have used money donated by energy company E.ON to develop an energy advice service and a network of volunteers, offering energy savings support to over 300 vulnerable social housing residents in the North Staffordshire area.
The £20,000 legacy fund was donated by E.ON at the beginning of the year as a continuation of E.ON’s Community Energy Fit programme, a 12 month programme aimed at training unemployed people to be able to offer energy saving training and advice to local communities. The legacy fund has enabled the community groups to continue the programme, training more volunteers and supporting a wider group of vulnerable people from the local community.
Volunteers include older residents from Staffordshire Housing Association’s developments in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Margaret Montgomery lives in Rhodes Court, Porthill and already plays an active role in her community. The 82-year-old enjoys offering advice to fellow residents, especially when it results in a saving.
“Like a lot of people, I knew very little about energy or how to save money,” said Margaret, who has been a resident at Rhodes Court for the last 32 years.
“Now I enjoy being able to offer advice on how to reduce their energy costs and it helps being a people person.
“Often it’s just advising them to make simple changes to help them make savings, such as changing to a direct debit payment or checking they’re on the right tariff for them.
“It’s a great scheme and I’m hoping more residents will volunteer to take part.”
Maggie Fitton, aged 76, of West End Village, Stoke, added: “I volunteered because I wanted to be more informed. I think a lot of people are unsure whether they’re getting the best deal on their energy bills and now I can share what I’ve learnt during my training with other residents.
“My role is to share my own experience, offer advice where I can and encourage the residents to try the energy saving tips. There is money to be saved, but people don’t always realise how to go about it.”
Having completed a six week training programme, the volunteers are now accompanying a Home Energy Adviser on home visits to provide advice to other residents.
Emma Griffiths, Regeneration Programme Manager at Staffordshire Housing Association said “During the first few months the project has been focused on the network of resident volunteers gaining the knowledge and confidence to talk to local communities about saving energy and reducing energy costs, developing a thorough understanding of energy saving.
Amy Cross, Senior Community Relations Executive at E.ON said “It has been great that the legacy of the Community Energy Fit programme has been able to continue in the area for another 12 months and we hope with the new volunteers now trained this can continue in to the future too. Supporting the most vulnerable people in our local communities is a huge part of the work we do with our community activity and this is a fabulous example of how our programmes can really touch hundreds of people and have an impact on their lives.”
E.ON customers1 can now use its new Saving Energy Toolkit to get an insightful analysis of their household’s energy use, including where and when energy is being used with a breakdown of costs and information on how they compare to other customers in their local area. For more advice on saving energy and to use the new Saving Energy Toolkit, visit eonenergy.com/savingenergy.
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