Energy champions in Merton!

A selection of local community and voluntary organisations has each kindly designated an energy champion to spread the word throughout Merton about the significance of maintaining a warm home.

Creative Environment Networks (CEN), a key partner of Merton Council submitted a bid to National Energy Action (NEA) about the feasibility of recruiting energy champions from local community and voluntary organisations. The application was successful, and as result, a total of fourteen energy champions are now in place.

The primary objective of the champions’ role is to ensure people are aware of the obvious health implications that exist when you reside in a poorly heated home and to refer people to the energy advice helpline, who can advise people on energy efficiency schemes, such as the Warm Front and Coldbusters scheme. In return for offering the participation of its members, each group will receive £100 for taking part, and a further £100 is to be rewarded to the organisation, whose champion generates the most referrals.

A training day for the volunteers was held on Friday 26 May at 10.00a.m in the Billiard room of Morden Hall, Morden Hall Road. This included a talk from local health professional on the health risks associated with a cold home, and there were also presentations from other organisations about the various grants that are available.

Councillor Margaret Brierly, newly elected Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Services said:

“We are committed to improving the quality of help for the frail and elderly to live in their own homes, and this initiative fits into our plans very well.”

Jeff Hobden, Interim Director for Community and Housing said:

“It is well-known that keeping warm is critical to the health of old and young alike. It is much more difficult to get that message across to people who may be worried about the cost of heating.

“The beauty of this scheme is that it engages local residents in helping their neighbours to understand the help that is available. It is a good example of Council, voluntary organisations and individuals working together to help the most vulnerable in the community to access the help that exists.”

Some of the groups, who are throwing their weight behind this scheme, include North East Mitcham Community Association, African Community Involvement Organisation and Hanover at Home.

Merton’s energy champions’ scheme will run until March 2007, however it is hoped that energy efficiency will be advocated strongly by the participating groups, beyond that date. This scheme is