One of the most important aspects of the work we do is within communities, bringing people together and helping them to understand and engage with the important issues
We believe that it is only with the support, cooperation and active participation of communities that we will see real changes in the way we use and source energy. Individuals take their cues from the actions of others around them and, through organised collective action, people can achieve far more than they can acting in isolation.
CSE therefore provides a range of services to engage people in their communities – from training volunteers and facilitating consultation to providing expert advice and project development.
Our aim is to help communities understand the issues – often by making links with existing concerns such as poverty, housing and health – and find appropriate local solutions.
We work with a wide range of groups, including common interest groups (where individuals have a common interest, need or concern, e.g. fuel poor, retired, carbon reduction, etc.) neighbourhood groups (e.g. tenants, rural communities, parish groups, renewal areas) volunteers (groups or individuals recruited by CSE) and the general public.
We bring skills and experience in:
- delivering training tailored to the needs of community groups
- advising community groups on how to develop and secure funding for their own projects
- supporting small-scale renewable energy projects
- presentations to local groups (within the Avon and Somerset area)
- free energy advice
- advising renewable energy developers and energy utilities on community engagement.
You can download a document outlining our bespoke services for community groups here.
At the moment, our two main community-focussed projects are the Community Energy Challenge and PlanLoCaL.
The Community Energy Challenge will see CSE support seven well established community groups with 12-18 months of enterprise development, mentoring and technical advice, enabling them to initiate co-operative renewable energy projects at a significant scale (e.g. valued at £1m to £3m and/or rated in excess of 500kW).
PlanLoCaL provides communities with the tools to embark on their own low-carbon projects, whether insulating the village hall or developing a £1m wind farm – or anything in between. We made 47 short videos to go with this project. One of them, which looks ahead at how community groups might use the profits from a successful renewable energy project, is below. The others can be seen on the PlanLoCaL website (www.planlocal.org.uk) or on YouTube.
Between 2002 and 2010, CSE was the managing agent of the Energy Saving Trust’s Green Communities programme (formally known as the Community Action for Energy programme).
Click on the project links on the right for details of some other examples of our community-based work.
If you're a community group looking for suppport, click here for our community group pages.