Older Persons’ Energy Network

Recruiting and training older people to become community energy advisors for their local area

OPEN began in 1998. The aim of the project is to recruit and train older people in North Somerset to become community energy advisors for their local area. The specific objectives are:

  • to recruit and train at least ten volunteers per year
  • to enable volunteers to offer energy advice presentations, events and home visits to the householders of North Somerset

During the first three years of the OPEN programme, a number of recruitment launches were held to recruit volunteers to work in defined areas. Each volunteer group then underwent a comprehensive training programme including NEA/City & Guilds Energy Awareness and a variety of energy advice service delivery sessions.

Volunteer groups met on a monthly basis to plan an advice strategy for the local area and discuss the activities that had been undertaken. The volunteers were encouraged to develop their own work plan, supported by CSE staff and resources.

Launches had varying success depending upon location; the most successful occurred in small towns where local people feel a sense of 'community spirit' and where a strong volunteer ethic already existed.

An initial total of 20 volunteers were recruited. There is currently a core team of four or five volunteers, who continue to develop and deliver their own work programme, covering the entire North Somerset area, and sometimes beyond.

Meetings are currently held every six weeks to touch base with CSE and discuss future developments. Over 40 presentations have been given to community groups and over 500 Home Energy Checks have been completed.

To speak to someone about home energy advice in Bristol or Somerset, please contact CSE's Home Energy team free on: 0800 082 2234 or email: home.energy@cse.org.uk.

You can also follow us on twitter: @cse_homeenergy.


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