Energy Matters: Building the next generation of energy champions

Merton Council is working with schools and the community-led climate action group to fight fuel poverty and the climate crisis.

The Energy Matters project, which is funded by the council, is running in four Merton schools to teach primary school children and educators how to be Energy Champions. The project is a collaboration between Merton’s Climate Action Group, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and CREW Energy.

Designed by CSE to create the next generation of energy champions, the schools will run an ‘Energy Matters’ module, giving pupils the tools they need to drive behaviour change around energy use. Each week, students will have lessons that include quizzes, games and practical opportunities to help them understand more about energy use and climate change. In addition, Key Stage 2 students will cover the topics of climate justice, youth activism and fuel poverty.

To tackle the impact of fuel poverty in Merton, teachers and staff have had energy awareness training run by CSE and CREW Energy. This means they are able to promote and signpost those struggling with their energy bills to the local support and services available to them.

As well as the delivery of the Energy Matters modules, this summer each school will host an Energy Café with the local charity, CREW Energy. The Energy Cafés will be a chance for students to showcase what they have learnt about reducing energy use and gives parents and guardians the opportunity to get free energy advice to help them save money on their bills.

The results and learnings from the pilot will be shared at a schools’ climate summit taking place in the Autumn. Merton Council, CSE, and Merton Climate Action Group hope Energy Matters can be replicated across schools in the borough in the next academic year.

Cllr Natasha Irons, Cabinet Member for Local Environment, Green Spaces and Climate Change, said: “The climate and cost of living crisis are two of the biggest challenges we face both nationally and here in Merton. Projects like Energy Matters demonstrate how working together to educate ourselves, our children and our community we can tackle both and create a brighter future.

“We know that the impact of climate change will disproportionately affect poorer communities and we know our young people will have to live with the consequences if we don’t change course. That’s why grass roots projects like Energy Matters play such an important role in our response to the climate crisis.

“A big thank you to our partners CSE and Crew Energy who have helped us shape this project and to Merton’s Climate Action Group. It is a testament to the hard work of Merton’s Climate Action group that projects like Energy Matters are running in Merton. As a voluntary resident group, they continue to tirelessly push for lasting change in Merton across a number of important and exciting projects such as: The Wheel, which promotes reuse and upcycling and Merton Garden Streets which is greening our community street by street. I hope that this work will inspire more residents to get involved in climate action.“