PECT has recently started delivering another Fuel Poverty project, expanding on our work in Peterborough and delivering it to residents across South Holland in Lincolnshire through a door-to-door advice service.
As part of my role I have been helping to deliver this work. Supported by our main energy assessor, Sam Bosson, I have been experiencing first-hand the issues faced by people on a day-to-day basis when it comes to keeping their homes warm.
With high levels of fuel poverty in our target areas and many older ‘hard to heat’ properties, I am getting a chance to see the real need for support with energy efficiency and staying warm at home. Having experienced rain and freezing temperatures during our first few sessions going door-to-door I can really understand why it is so important that people are keeping their homes warm!
These first few trips out have shown me that many people already have a good idea of how to keep their bills down through behaviours and through getting better energy deals. However, with virtually every household I have visited there have been areas where they could be making improvements, whether this is making behavioural changes or by altering their tariff to a lower priced one.
Although there are huge variances in the support people need – from those who just want a few pointers and general information, through to those who need help understanding their bills and making changes to their tariffs – we are able to help everyone with our personalised service in a way that we would not be able to with a more generic approach.
The initial project funding came from The Fenland Green Power Co-operative, a community group who owns two wind turbines at Deeping St Nicholas. This is the first time we have received funding generated from community-owned renewable energy, and it is great to think that as more community-owned energy projects mature they will be helping to provide funding for local services. This is a really sustainable model that can help communities across the country to support themselves more sustainably whilst also helping the environment.
This funding, and the match funding we received, came from direct approaches to PECT from people who had read about our previous energy visits work around Peterborough. Without our previous work, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to help households in South Holland, and we wouldn’t have been able to develop new relationships with funders. Whilst I am spending a lot of time out in the cold walking from door-to-door, it’s a very small price to pay for all the good impacts we are achieving!
Andrew Ellis is the Fundraising and Project Officer for PECT.