Keele-based energy experts secure major Government funding to help households become more energy efficient
- Socially Grown Ltd, a tenant of Keele University Science and Innovation Park, has secured major Government funding to provide a mobile energy advice service to help households across the Midlands.
- Starting in Staffordshire and Shropshire, the two-year Government funded project will utilise a community outreach and education vehicle, providing a local, mobile means to raise energy efficiency awareness.
- The company were supported in their preliminary bid work thanks to their participation in Keele’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) project.
Helping households improve energy efficiency
A tenant of Keele University Science and Innovation Park has secured major Government funding to provide a mobile energy advice service to help households across the Midlands.
Socially Grown Ltd, in consortium with its sister company Residential Energy Services, has won £373,329 of funding towards a mobile energy advice service for hard-to-reach households and hard-to-treat properties, funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and supported by the Midlands Net Zero Hub.
The company were supported in their preliminary bid work thanks to their participation in Keele’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) project. Their project with Keele’s SEND team involved a Keele University postgraduate student working with the company prior to commencing the bid writing process. The aim of the SEND project was to enhance understanding of the proposed project delivery area, particularly focusing on the relationship between regional demographic data and property archetype data.
Socially Grown are one of just 36 successful applicants to the Government’s new national Local Energy Advice Demonstrator programme (LEAD), with the project being one of nine awarded in the Midlands region. The LEAD programme was established to fund innovative new approaches to providing energy efficiency advice to those in most need.
Working across the region
Starting in Staffordshire and Shropshire, the two-year Government funded project will utilise a community outreach and education vehicle, providing a local, mobile means to raise energy efficiency awareness, integrating with hard-to-reach householders, and co-creating energy plans to help reduce fuel bills and improve housing stock. The project will also support householders living in hard-to-treat properties, such as those not connected to the gas and/or electricity grid.
According to End Fuel Poverty, 7.4 million households in England spent more than 10% of their income on energy bills in 2022. Over half of low-income households are residing in inefficient homes, with campaigners warning the rate of progress is below that needed to meet UK net-zero targets.
The project aims to provide 6,000 householders per year with immediate access to qualified energy and retrofit advisors, via the Residential Energy Services pop-up hub which will appear in key locations such as health settings, community centres, faith settings, and rural/community shows.
Helping underserved communities
Sarah Parry, Managing Director of Socially Grown and Residential Energy Services, said: “Through this initiative, our objective is to pioneer a transformative approach, catering to the energy advisory needs of underserved communities, by introducing a mobile energy advice service. Leveraging our expertise and forward-thinking methods, we are committed to delivering in-person advice, tailored to each individual home, addressing individual needs and co-creating meaningful action plans and other interventions that result in retrofit measures being installed.”
Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at Keele University, added: “It’s fantastic that Socially Grown have been successful in being awarded significant funding from the Government’s new national Local Energy Advice Demonstrator programme to fund a personalised, tailored mobile energy advice service to those most in need across Staffordshire and Shropshire.
“We’re delighted to have Socially Grown as a tenant within the Smart Innovation Hub in the Denise Coates Foundation Building, which also houses the Keele Business School, in our Science and Innovation Park. There’s an excellent synergy with our institutional commitment to sustainability and social inclusion, and our increasingly strong regional business engagement.”
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