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The Wigan Community Energy Champions programme was created to support hard to-reach vulnerable energy consumers who wouldn’t otherwise engage with existing welfare.
The programme successfully recruited and upskilled 16 volunteers from fuel poverty hotspots across the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan to become Community Energy Champions, acting as connectors who could provide energy advice and support to households who are hard to reach.
Training the Community Energy Champions included courses identified by the champion coordinator, such as fuel poverty and health, energy and fuel debt advice, understanding health improvement and awareness for dementia.
The training also gave the Energy Champions an understanding of the professional support available, such as wider welfare and lifestyle services, along with how to refer people to them. Over the course of the project, the Energy Champions supported 469 residents with important energy advice and referrals for other support such as boiler replacements and winter fuel discounts.
The Energy Champions attended 41 public events to promote the programme to vulnerable energy consumers. The Energy champions also engaged with over 1,000 children in 33 schools delivering a ‘Learning Curve’ education programme that educated pupils on topics such as renewable energy, saving energy at home and school, recycling and social economic responsibility.
To complete the programme, Wigan hosted a Fuel Poverty conference aimed at local organisations, frontline staff and community groups who support those living in fuel poverty. The event featured keynote speakers highlighting the national and local picture, training workshops throughout the day and an opportunity to network with local support services, with 13 external partners and over 65 people in attendance on the day.
This partnership consisted of a group of organisations and charities from across Wigan, who work together to give the most vulnerable residents the help and support they need to stay safe and warm at home – especially during the coldest months.