30,000 Midlands residents to be supported through Local Energy Advice Demonstrator projects

Person adjusting a thermostat in their home. Text reads: 'Supporting communities to reduce their energy bills'Nine Midlands-based projects have successfully been awarded funding to provide in-person energy advice through the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator competition. This forms part of a national scheme funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero which is being run by the five Local Net Zero Hubs. Across England, 36 projects will be delivered through the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator.

In the Midlands, £4m will be spent by 2025 across the nine successful projects to support residents by providing them with advice to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The Local Energy Advice Demonstrator is particularly focused on helping ‘hard-to-reach’ consumers and ‘hard-to-treat’ properties.

• Hard-to-treat buildings – the UK has the oldest building stock in Europe. In-person visits can better capture the complexities of these building types, which are harder to address through digital and telephone advice.
• Hard-to-reach consumers – local, in-person advice may extend the service to certain consumer types e.g., the elderly, disengaged, those with limited internet access, minority ethnic groups, etc.

Through the Midlands aspect of the scheme, the nine organisations are aiming to support over 30,000 local residents with energy advice.

Amanda Solloway, Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability, said: “We want everyone to be able to get expert advice on how to make their homes more energy efficient, no matter where they live, so they can save money.

“These innovative projects will bring that expertise right to people’s doorsteps, quite literally in some cases, ensuring people are given the best advice on how to save money on their bills and heat their homes for less without needing to search for it. This is alongside our investment of billions of pounds to improve energy efficiency across the country – reducing bills at the same time as making sure Britain’s homes are fit for the future.”

Michael Gallagher, Head of Midlands Net Zero Hub, said: “It is fantastic that we’re able to support nine projects to deliver in-person energy advice to those in need. Digital exclusion is a real risk as the internet has become commonplace for many, but we need to make sure that people are not left behind. Tackling fuel poverty through domestic retrofit schemes such as Sustainable Warmth Competition has been a key priority for the Hub for many years, so I’m looking forward to seeing these projects develop over the coming months.”

The following projects will be supported through the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator in the Midlands.

Birmingham Voluntary Service Council

A group of charities are coming together to set up energy cafes and community events for hard-to-reach communities and hard-to-treat homes. They will aim to engage with people in-person, being sensitive to aspects such as the choice of building, the tone of the speaker, and the availability of translators. Also looking to train volunteers and staff in energy awareness.

East Lindsey District Council

The council will create an energy van that will go to rural areas with a high proportion of hard-to-reach consumers to provide advice. Advisors will give demonstrations of how measures provided by government schemes can help reduce consumers’ energy use and improve the quality of their home. The van will provide a neutral ground to build trust with the community so that home visits can take place.

Leicester City Council

Leicester City Council will build a team to provide tailored energy efficiency plans for households in fuel poverty. These plans will show how they can reduce their energy bills, lower their carbon emissions, and increase their comfort. This team will provide follow up advice to work through the plan and support where needed.

Leicestershire County Council

This project is aiming to support residents already engaged with health and housing services who are suffering from having cold homes. Advice will be delivered and promoted through open homes demonstrating the benefits of retrofit, community roadshows, infrared camera reports, home visits, and retrofit assessments.

Marches Energy Agency

Providing intensive support for 200 hard-to-reach consumers who are eligible for Government funding, but who (for a variety of reasons) are not able to apply for this without support. Consumers will be given access to a small number of trusted installers and advisors will walk consumers through the entire process. Further advice will be offered to a wider audience via a mobile retrofit roadshow, training sessions, and webinars.

North Kesteven District Council

Providing tailored energy advice to hard-to-reach consumers on low incomes. Creation of community energy champions supported by home energy advisors.  A mobile energy advice van will be utilised to reach consumers across the rural location. Advice will also focus on adaption measures for homes experiencing overheating.

Nottingham Energy Partnership

Targeting off-gas grid homes, homes in conservation areas, and poorly-performing homes. Advice will be provided through free workshops and webinars, as well as in-person retrofit surveys. Consumers will also have access to a network of trusted installers.

Socially Grown Limited (The Warmer Homes Project)

Targeting hard-to-reach consumers, particularly in rural areas, using a community outreach and education vehicle.  Advice will be given in pop-up locations such as health, community and religious centres, as well as food banks, where there will be advisors available to answer questions and arrange energy assessments where appropriate.

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Using a school as a trusted venue to reach hard-to-treat properties and hard-to-reach people, the council will offer advice and services through this venue using existing partners and organisations. There’ll be a particular emphasis on non-native English speakers and Victorian terraced houses.

The pilots form part of the multi-channel home energy advice service being developed by Department for Energy Security and Net Zero which also includes a new energy retrofit advice service on GOV.UK to help people better understand how to make energy efficiency improvements to their home, and the free energy efficiency phoneline service which can be reached on 0800 098 7950.