The aim of the project is to provide bi-lingual energy efficiency advice and tools for the Kashmiri and other black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in Rochdale (particularly those with language barriers). The project will help empower members of this community to develop their understanding of the energy market, its impact on their lives and the means to make relevant choices for their social and economic wellbeing.
The role of Electricity North West
Following the launch of our community energy strategy last year, we announced the Powering our Communities Fund to support projects that put community and local energy at the heart of communities. In particular, the fund is intended for projects that demonstrate how they can engage communities in energy issues; support vulnerable customers and/or reduce fuel poverty; or deliver new ways of working, fit for a smart, flexible low carbon grid.
The fund will provide some much needed resources into the development of community energy projects across the region and will help increase awareness and understanding of the benefits and possibilities that community energy can bring. A total of six successful projects received a share of £71,000, announced in March 2019.
What is community energy and how does this project fit the bill?
We see community energy as community-led projects or initiatives to reduce, manage, generate or purchase energy. Community energy projects focus on engagement and benefits to the local area and communities.
This project will engage with vulnerable customers in the local community to help reduce fuel poverty. Using a variety of channels, the project will raise awareness of fuel poverty issues, provide energy saving advice and other guidance which will educate the local community to take control of their energy consumption.
Organisation behind the project
Based in Rochdale, the Kashmir Youth Project (KYP) is a leading community/voluntary organisation, established nearly 40 years ago. It is an independent charity dedicated to the development and economic regeneration of the communities of Rochdale. It aims to help empower economically and socially deprived communities of all ages either through enterprise, employment or training.
Background and detailed description of the project
By engaging with Rochdale’s most deprived communities, this project aims to target fuel poverty by educating local people to be more energy efficient.
A dedicated bilingual fuel poverty officer has been appointed to work with local community centres and mosques to raise awareness of fuel poverty issues and opportunities to improve energy efficiency. In this way the project hopes to reach over 1800 people.
The project has already held two energy efficiency events, which have reached around 150 people, to educate them on energy efficiency measures and to help change behaviours to reduce fuel consumption. A number of support services were represented at the events; the local council was on hand to provide information on the support it provides such as cavity wall insulation and the Toasty Rochdale scheme, part of a wider Greater Manchester initiative to reduce energy consumption in domestic homes by funding home improvements.
The workshops were also attended by Electricity North West, giving customers the opportunity to sign up to our priority services register and receive further advice on energy saving measures. Information was also broadcast in English and Urdu on the local community radio station, reaching hundreds of listeners in the borough.
Over 40 customers who attended the events have provided feedback which shows how well these events have been received by the local community.
In summary, using these combined resources the project will:
- Raise awareness of fuel poverty issues among the target community;
- Increase confidence among householders so they are able to make small improvements in their home to improve energy efficiency and control their energy consumption;
- Help householders to reduce energy costs;
- Help householders to switch energy supplier;
- Increase access to eligible benefits and services.
To deliver the project, KYP is working with a number of partners who will raise awareness of the project among their service users and encourage them to participate in the awareness-raising events including:
- Empowering Minds – a consultancy which uses workshops, training, and project management to engage, educate and inspire organisations and individuals;
- Bangladesh Association of Community Projects (BACP) – a community hub organisation based in central Rochdale which aims to reduce the deprivation of ethnic communities by enabling them to access opportunities to break down social and economic barriers;
- Bilal Masjid – the local mosque;
- Ambition for Ageing – various local groups engaged in activities to support older people;
- Petrus – a local charity which supports homeless people.
Where to go for further information
For more information on our community and local energy strategy visit our strategy page, or visit www.kyp.org.uk to find out more about the work of KYP.