The Energy Impact Award Scheme (which replaced the Community Action Award) recognises innovation and best practice amongst agencies running projects that focus on energy projects tackling fuel poverty by benefiting vulnerable people in the local area. This could be, for example, projects that make links between health and fuel poverty, distributed and renewable energy projects, projects improving the lives of those living in fuel poverty, or other innovative initiatives in England and Wales.
The scheme is run by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action in partnership with British Gas and is open to community groups, charities, and other third sector organisations. Local authorities, health agencies, and other public and statutory organisations are also eligible to apply and we are specifically looking for applications which demonstrate partnership working.
This year’s scheme closed on 13 July 2016 and two awards were made: a first prize of £10,000 and a runner-up prize of £7,500. The two successful winners also received one full place each at the NEA Annual Conference in Manchester in 2016 including travel and accommodation (worth £650) as well as the opportunity to showcase their project at the conference to all delegates.
Interest in the scheme was extremely strong with 77 applications received in total – the highest number we have experienced to date for one of our energy efficiency award schemes.
First Prize: Beat the Cold
Beat the Cold were successful in being chosen as the first prize winner for their project “Saving Lives with Solar”- Community Energy Scheme. The project is a ground-breaking example of collaborative work and information sharing between the NHS, the third sector and private investors to accurately target and improve the health and wellbeing of those in fuel poverty, save the NHS and wider health economy money, and reduce the carbon footprint of a substantial hospital property portfolio. The model also has the potential to be replicated across communities in the UK.
The scheme is a twenty-year programme and will initially target the Lower Super Output Areas with the highest rates of fuel poverty, falling within the footprint serviced by the two hospital sites of the University Hospital of North Midlands. This covers the northern part of Staffordshire including the City of Stoke on Trent. The first target areas include Lower Super Output Areas of fuel poverty as high as 47.3%, which is 4.5 times higher than the national average. As the scheme grows, its geographical footprint will grow, expanding into other local areas with high rates of fuel poverty.
The prize money of £10,000 will be spent to achieve outputs with immediate short-term impact as well as much longer-term savings, support, and knowledge transfer. The money will be used for continued upskilling sessions during the lifetime of the project to frontline healthcare staff and for delivery of tailored one-to-one support in relation to fuel poverty for vulnerable households in their own home for approximately 4,000 households (6,000 individuals) over the lifetime of the project in its current form.
Second Prize: Community Energy Plus
The runner-up is Community Energy Plus in Cornwall. Their project “Energy Fit Kitchens” was awarded the £7,500 second prize. “The Energy Fit Kitchens” pilot project took the innovative approach of using slow cooking workshops as an engagement tool to encourage people who might not otherwise be interested in accessing energy advice to gain essential life skills in home energy management so that they can take control of their energy bills and enjoy warmer, healthier, homes. The prize money will enable them to deliver a second phase of the project, building on the achievements and learnings of the first, and trialling a more holistic approach of working with parents and their children to encourage entire families to cook and save energy together.
The project focuses on working with low-income households with children who are living in fuel poverty and are struggling with their energy costs. The purpose of the project is to provide advice and access to practical help, both from Community Energy Plus and other organisations, to reduce energy bills and ensure that families can afford to heat their homes properly.
The prize money will help fund cookery workshops including supporting and developing cookery skills – an essential life skill, increasing a healthy food knowledge and awareness which will support combating poor health for the individual and the family. Furthermore cookery workshops can empower an individual, build confidence and improve family relationships. A total of up to 315 parents and children will be participating in workshops which means 105 households will benefit from improved home energy management life skills, lower energy bills and warmer homes with less condensation and mould.
NEA and British Gas would like to congratulate both winners, welcome them to the NEA Annual Conference 2016 and look forward to working with them during the coming months to follow the progress and further success of their projects.
Published on 17-05-2016