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Rural communities energy support network

A friendly male operator taking a customer's call on an advice line

Sharing knowledge and building capacity of frontline teams to give basic energy advice

Project started

Grant funding available

Find out about small grants for community organisations in Wiltshire, Swindon and Somerset  to increase energy advice for vulnerable people.

In the face of a cost-of-living crisis and high energy prices, the need for energy-focussed advice for struggling householders is critical.

To meet this need in Somerset and Wiltshire, we are excited to launch the Rural Communities Energy Support Network. This project will boost the ability of frontline professionals and voluntary organisations to provide basic energy advice to the people and communities they work with and live among.

CSE will deliver the training programme and provide ongoing support to build the capacity of these groups and make them effective at giving basic energy advice.

Heating or eating

Karn Shah is managing the Rural Communities Energy Support Network project for CSE. “Being able to afford to keep warm in winter is a basic right for everyone.” Says Karn, “but some people in Somerset and Wiltshire, unable to afford to keep warm at home and in fear of high energy bills, will face a choice between between heating their home and eating in the months ahead.

“By increasing the number of organisations able to offer knowledge and practical support, we will reduce significantly the number of people struggling for affordable warmth this winter.”

To help ensure more residents in Somerset and Wiltshire can access basic energy advice, CSE will provide a range of services to the charity groups and other organisations in the Rural Communities Energy Support Network. These will include:

And of course CSE’s experienced and professional energy advisors will be on hand to take on the more complex cases that require a more in-depth response.

“Our aim is to increase the number of people receiving energy advice and to provide community workers or groups with the knowledge that so many have been asking for” said Karn.

“Being part of the network will be easy, and we’re not asking members to do anything drastically different in their day-to-day work. It’s simply about identifying those that need energy advice and being more knowledgeable in the conversations that are already happening.”

If you have any questions about the network, please get in touch by email for Wiltshire and Swindon, or for Somerset.

Join us

If you or your group would like to join the Rural Energy Support Network, please fill out this short form …

Rural communities energy support network grants

Through the project, CSE is offering small grants of £300 – £5,000 to community organisations in Wiltshire, Swindon and Somerset with the aim of increasing the capacity for organisations to deliver energy advice supporting vulnerable people in their communities.

This funding opportunity is open to all community organisations involved in the Rural Communities Energy Support Network or you can join when you submit an application.

The aim of the funding is to enable your organisation to support vulnerable people in your community with energy advice. The funding can be used for a range of activities including:

Unsure what to apply for? We’ve put together some ideas along with their costs. You could use the grant to run an event or workshop, create promotional material, or provide energy saving kits to those you support. If you would like help putting together your application, please get in touch.

Run a slow cooker workshop in your community, helping people to reduce their cooking costs. Our grants can cover all the costs for this event, including the venue hire, marketing, display materials and refreshments.

You could also make snake draught excluders whilst the lovely meals are cooking!

We estimated the average cost for this event would be around £500-£850. So, if you want a bigger event, or to do more of them that’s fine, we can provide a grant up to £5,000!

You could offer Energy Saving Kits that include many useful items to help people stay warm and save money.

Our recommendations for the kit include a heated throw and hot water bottle to warm the person, as well as draughtproofing and energy saving items to warm the home. We even included a slow cooker to help you make lovely hot meals in an affordable way!

A full pack costs around £215 (including postage), or you could only select certain items. You can apply for as many as your community needs, up to £5,000.

Keeping warm is important to physical and mental health. Thermometer cards provide an affordable way to check the temperature in homes and the workplace.

They can help people make decisions around heating and insulating the places they occupy. The are small, lightweight, and easy to store.

Thermometer Cards come in packs of 200, 1,000 or 2,000, with prices ranging from £420 to £1,200 a pack, plus postage. You can order these with other items, such as draught excluders, energy monitors and heated throws.


Why not share the energy knowledge you’ve gained with your local community and run an event? It can be informative and fun and will help more people to stay warmer this winter. We have some ideas to get you started, or we can help you develop something specific.

We can fund everything you need to run this event, from the hire of the venue to any materials, and the all-important refreshments! Practical items can be included too, such as a projector screens, clip boards and stationery. The grant can also help with the cost of marketing the session, to get as many participants as possible.

The cost of a single event is around £400-£900, depending on the scope, so why not do a few to really get the message out there?

The funding will be awarded on a rolling basis which means there is no deadline for submitting an application. Once the funding has been fully allocated we will no longer take applications.

Please do share this opportunity with any other community organisations that might be interested.

To apply to the fund please email

This project is funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme. It will be delivered by CSE in partnership with the following organisations:

Somerset Independence Plus

Community Council for Somerset

Spark Somerset

Wessex Community Action

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