Somali energy advice videos

Helping Somali speakers understand home energy issues

Project duration: January 2013 to December 2013

CSE has produced two new energy advice videos for Somali speakers, thanks to Big Lottery funding.

Through our energy advice work in the Bristol area, and our Warming Bristol Communities project, we give help and advice to a large number of Somali householders. Bristol has a large Somali population, many of whom have arrived recently as refugees and have a limited understanding of English.

Coming to the UK from a very different climate and culture can result in a number of energy-related difficulties for Somali householders which can seriously impact their quality of life. Based on our work with this client group, we decided to produce two films that can be used by advice agencies:

1) How to avoid damp and mould

The Somali language doesn’t contain a word for damp - it’s an unknown quantity in Somalia. No wonder Somali communities often struggle with this problem in their UK homes.

This video explains simply why mould can appear, how houses get damp inside, and how to greatly reduce this problem by making some changes to the things you do at home.

2) How to pay for your gas and electricity

Many Somali householders find themselves in accommodation with a prepayment meter. While these can be expensive, we have found that the biggest problems are actually faced by people who move into a home with a credit meter. These people may not know anything about the way energy is paid for in the UK. They may use a lot of energy, hear nothing from their energy company for several months and then be hit with a huge bill that they did not expect and don’t understand. These are the people who get into debt.

We made this video as a simple introduction to gas and electricity bills; explaining that energy is expensive, that there are several ways to pay, identifying the most important information on a bill and how to check it against your meter, and explaining the difference between a bill and a statement. Most of all, we wanted to encourage people to get help if they are struggling to pay, rather than ignoring the problem.

Watch the videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/csebristol

Using the videos

The videos are in Somali with English subtitles, so that they can also be used with mixed-language groups, and so that an English-speaking presenter can understand what’s being said.

We think these Somali-language energy advice videos are the first of their kind. We use them at our energy advice surgeries and workshops, and we expect them to be very useful to other agencies in similar settings, especially to those who don’t have the luxury of a Somali-speaking advisor.

To request a DVD, please contact Kate Thomas: kate.thomas@cse.org.uk or 0117 934 1429.

Clients can watch the videos again later online at: www.youtube.com/csebristol


The Somali energy advice videos are part of our ongoing work to tackle fuel poverty and end the misery of cold homes.

For further information contact:

Kate Thomas | 0117 934 1429

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