Training volunteers to pass on energy advice

Warming Bristol Communities extended to train volunteers

4 November 2010

Black, asian and other minority ethnic households across Bristol are often facing the worst energy-related problems – cold homes, high fuel bills and fuel debts, condensation and mould growth – but are often the most difficult to provide in-depth, face-to-face energy advice which they need.

That was one of the issues which emerged from CSE’s recent city-wide advice projects, Warming Bristol, which found that over 50% of home visits were to black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) households. The results have led CSE to develop a new initiative specifically targeting these groups.

CSE’s recently launched Warming Bristol Communities advice project is already making energy efficiency more accessible to BAME householders across Bristol. Advisors from CSE have already completed 90 home visits and given 150 householders in depth energy advice.

This project has now been expanded to train more than a dozen volunteers over the age of 65 from the community to work alongside CSE advisors to provide householders with in-depth energy advice.

Funded by Comic Relief, this project will enable residents to receive advice through a trusted source in their first language which can then continue to be communicated after the end of the project.

“Training and working with volunteers gives us a far greater reach and impact beyond the end of the project,” said Sarah Jeffrey, who manages the project for CSE. “It will allow people to receive information from a trusted source – such as a friend or relative, and should mean people are more likely to follow up on the advice they’ve been offered.”

The project sees CSE working with a range of other partner organisations in Bristol to promote the project – these include Bristol Debt Advice Centre, Bristol Citizens Advice Bureau and St Pauls Advice Centre.

So far, 11 volunteers have been trained and a further training session for volunteers from the BAME community has been planned for January.

For more information about the project, please contact Sarah Jeffrey on 0117 9341431.

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