CSE is supported by a large number of volunteers, around 80 in total, of whom 35 are particularly active. They mainly help our Home Energy Team to provide advice and support to local householders, many of whom face a daily struggle to afford their bills and stay warm in winter, but a number of our committed volunteers also help with wider office and project tasks, helping us to get much more done.
NB Our 'patch' is Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire so we can't offer volunteer opportunities to people outside this area.
Every now and then we organise trips to show our appreciation. This news story is about one we took to Avonmouth's sewage farm to see how energy is made from waste.
New volunteers don't have to know anything about energy to begin with. We offer training, including the opportunity to take a City & Guilds qualification in Energy Awareness, which equips them with the knowledge needed to give basic home energy advice. There are four main roles that our volunteers fill: outreach, home visits, advice line and office help. We give each volunteer a role that's suitable to their experience, interests and the amount of time they can give.
Here, one of our volunteers, Jan, uses her training to help carry out a home visit:
A few volunteer stories...
Jenny lives in central Bristol. As a volunteer, she gets involved with a range of activities including home visits, presentations and promotional events. She also leads on carrying out evaluation phone calls to people who have been to our events or taken part in a CSE project.
She says, "I get great satisfaction from volunteering with CSE, mainly because I am using skills obtained throughout my working life. I am a retired nurse, experienced in home assessments and telephone interactions, having been a nurse advisor with NHS Direct. I am always made so welcome at the CSE office that being there is a pleasure!"
Rob decided to volunteer when he retired and wanted to make himself useful. With his long-standing interest in green issues experience in building work, CSE seemed like a good choice.
So far as a volunteer, he has done home visits to give energy advice to householders, he helped run a campaign to support people switching energy suppliers, and transcribed some videos for us.
He says, "I've learnt a lot, met some interesting and lively people, and I think I've done some good. I particularly enjoy the home visits - people are very welcoming and you can usually give them some direct practical help keeping their homes warm and comfortable. It gives me an insight into the real problems people face."
Polly lives in the Easton/Greenbank area of Bristol. She decided to volunteer with CSE as she had an interest in making houses more energy efficient and also wanted to help people decrease their energy use.
As a volunteer, she has done several home visits, helped on a CSE information stand at an event, and she's been able to complete a City & Guilds qualification in Energy Awareness which equips her to give good energy advice.
She says, "I really love being able to inform others who need and want help, and the support of the CSE team makes that possible."
And finally, some kind words from Helen, who had to stop volunteering with us due to family commitments. For over two years she provided support with home visits and outreach events. "It’s great to be working with people whom you know broadly share your values and concerns, and I was delighted with the thoughtful support and organisation offered."
If you're interested in volunteering with CSE, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.