Tenant Empowerment Training
Giving tenants the tools to make their homes more energy efficient
Project duration: January 2006 to July 2006
The Energy Saving Trust, in partnership with the Housing Corporation, sought to develop and implement capacity building and skills development of social housing residents with a particular emphasis on energy efficiency.
It was requested that training be delivered regionally within England and supported by a toolkit for use by residents in outreach activities within their own communities. A team consisting of CSE, Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) and Energy Inform, was contracted to develop a resident empowerment training package and toolkit.
The toolkit can be downloaded here (NB this is a 6.5 MB file so may some time to download).
The project aimed to develop a resource which met the following three criteria:
- It enabled tenants to understand the different factors that underline the need for them and their communities to take action on sustainable energy (e.g. social, environmental and financial drivers)
- The content of the toolkit to met tenant's aspirations, while also capturing their imagination and providing them with accurate and up to date information
- The training met tenants needs and spoke in a language they understood.
Utilising each partner's expert knowledge and complimentary expertise, the team produced an initial training course, trainerís notes, toolkit and schedule for the pilot day. This was tested in delivery by the partners and refined accordingly.
The resource was tested a further six times (twice by each partner organisation) across the English regions, each time being evaluated and commented upon by trainers and attendees. Following this evaluation and subsequent refinement, the resource has been finalised and prepared for the Energy Saving Trust.
Although not funded as part of the original proposal the team felt it important to gauge how tenants had used the knowledge and resources provided. The team surveyed tenants by phone to gauge how much action they had taken in their own home, the homes of their neighbours and with their landlord.
The tenant feedback demonstrated that tenants that attended the training and received a toolkit now felt empowered to take action. When asked over 95% of tenants felt they could take action in their own home, their neighbour's home and with their landlord to reduce energy use. Indeed all the tenants that attended felt that they would be able to take action in their own homes.
All of the tenants had attended the course to gain more knowledge about energy efficiency, saving money or helping to save our planet. The sessions all received high positive feedback with approximately 90% of tenants responding stating that content, delivery and materials were either 'good' or 'very good'. After the pilot delivery, the consensus among both delegates and tutors was that this resource would benefit the sector and that it struck the right balance between a summoning to action and a source of information.
The follow up survey was for the most part extremely encouraging. Tenants are taking action in their own home to reduce their energy use, and also actively spreading the word to friends, family and neighbours. Indeed the 81 tenants trained have passed the message on to over 600 other tenants. It was also encouraging to find that over half of tenants had taken a more active role with their tenant forum or participation group.
It was less encouraging to hear that tenants had so far failed to change their landlord's behaviour. It is therefore clear that tenants need more support when approaching their landlords to address energy efficiency, and landlords need more encouragement to involve tenants and consider energy efficiency as part of asset management.