About the project
The research team worked together with participants to organise an 'intervention' - or community action - designed to spread information about energy and develop knowledge networks in their community. During the second round of focus groups, participants made suggestions about what would work best in their local area. These ideas were then developed in detail at additional planning meetings that were attended on a voluntary basis by participants wishing to contribute.
Knutton and Cross Heath: 'Energy Special' in Local Newsletter
The participants felt that the best way to reach people in the Knutton and Cross Heath ward was to produce an insert on energy measures for the local community newsletter. Ideas for holding an event were discussed but decided against due to concerns about low turnout and the lack of an appropriate public space for community events. The newsletter included a range of tips for reducing energy bills, information on social tariffs and advice on solar panels. The content was provided by participants; the RECCKN team helped with layout and production. The participants' rationale for the newsletter was that there was a lack of trustworthy energy information available in the local area, with much of the material currently available coming from distrusted businesses. The advice provided in the newsletter was designed to provide an impartial, practical and local alternative. It was delivered to 3,500 households in Knutton and Cross Heath in mid-November 2012.
Silverdale: Energy Question Time
The Energy Question Time event was based on the BBC's 'Question Time' format, with a panel of people answering questions that had been collected from the community prior to the event and from the audience on the day. The panel included a member of the local community who was happy to share her knowledge and experience about energy, a representative of the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau and a member of the local fuel poverty charity, Beat the Cold It was chaired by Simon Ross from the RECKKN team and Marches Energy Agency. Alongside the main event, stalls about energy saving, a bike-powered smoothie maker, a balloon artist and a free lunch made it an event for the whole community.
View a short video highlighting the Energy Question Time organised by our Silverdale participants, designed to inspire others about the benefit of such local events. Public documentary (12 mins), see the videos page.
View the full question-and-answer session from the Energy Question Time event, designed for anyone interested in hearing the full answers to each question. Public information film (30 mins), see the videos page.
Porthill: Energy coffee morning
The Porthill group held a coffee morning in their local church. Local experts, many of whom were participants in the RECCKN project, sat at tables and offered their practical advice and experiences about energy efficiency. Topics included cavity wall insulation, solar panels, and using an energy display monitor at home. One person sat with a computer and showed people how to use price comparison websites to find the best deals from energy suppliers. The atmosphere was deliberately informal, with visitors able to move freely between the tables that interested them. It was very important to the participants that the local experts did not come from an organisation that would gain from being there, and were instead ‘just giving information' without a hidden agenda. Tea and cakes were served.
Belle Vue: Community Energy Advice Stall
Participants in this ward decided to have a stall at the annual Christmas fair in Shrewsbury Abbey. As with the Porthill event, they felt it was important that the stall was staffed by local people offering energy advice drawn from experience and not sales reps with products to promote. In addition to offering advice on solar panels and energy display monitors, they demonstrated simple, effective energy-saving technologies like home-made draft excluders and radiator reflector panels. Members of the RECCKN team helped to arrange the venue and supplied most of the physical materials on display at the stall. One member walked around the Abbey dressed as a cavity wall (costume made by a participant) in order to attract people to the stall.