A local school opened its gates to Brighton residents today for a drop-in energy advice surgery.
The free and impartial expert advice sessions, provided by Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo) and backed by Caroline, formed part of the school’s Energy Month.
Throughout November students and staff are looking at ways to save energy, building on the 10 per cent electricity reduction the school achieved in 2013-14. Solar panels now power computers in one of the new school buildings and earn the school extra money to plough back into education.
The event was one in a series of advice sessions which will take place across Caroline’s Brighton Pavilion constituency this winter with BHESCo and National Energy Action, to make their expert advice on fuel savings and energy efficiency available to as many people as possible.
Today’s event at Varndean fell on Student Review Day, with parents accompanying their children encouraged to drop into the surgery for advice on cutting fuel costs, saving energy and staying warm, as well as understanding energy bills, advice on fuel debt, available support and switching suppliers.
Caroline – who is Co-Chair of the All-Party Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Group and Parliamentary Champion of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign – said: “Fuel poverty is a grossly neglected national scandal and it’s shameful that in Brighton and Hove, more than 17,000 households are struggling to pay their fuel bills to stay warm, while the Big Six energy firms reap massive financial rewards. Effective energy efficiency measures should be the number one Government investment priority, and I continue to fight for that in Parliament. In Brighton Pavilion, I’m delighted to support the Energy Services Co-operative and National Energy Action in their fantastic work to help families cut fuel costs, save energy and stay warm and well – while debunking bills and clarifying available support.”
Kayla Ente, Founding Director of the award-winning Brighton and Hove Energy Services Cooperative, said: “Thousands of people across Brighton and Hove struggle to pay their energy bills and keep warm in their own homes. But often, people don’t realise that there are many ways in which we can help. It’s been great to be invited to Varndean School, which has a fantastic ethos of care for its children and their parents, and does a lot to engage students and the community in issues around energy. We’re looking to improve the quality of life of local families by lowering their fuel costs – saving them precious funds which can be put to better and more enjoyable use elsewhere.”
Headteacher of Varndean School, William Deighan, said: “We are delighted to welcome BHESCo into school as part of this valuable initiative to help Varndean families save energy and money this winter.”
Fuel poverty facts
· Every day in the UK, at least 65 people die in winter as a result of illnesses due to cold homes
· An estimated 2.23 million children in England living in fuel poverty
· Illness caused by cold homes are estimated to cost the NHS £1.3 billion a year
· In Brighton and Hove more than 17,000 households are battling to stay warm
(Energy Bill Revolution site)
Notes to Editor
· Caroline Lucas MP is an official Parliamentary Champion of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign, primary sponsor of EDM 395, welcoming the Energy Bill of Rights put forward by Fuel Poverty Action; and Co-Chair of the All-Party Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Group
· Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative was established to help consumers lower their energy costs now and in the future by introducing energy savings and renewable energy micro-generation in communities, empowering individuals to take more control over their own energy supply
· National Energy Action is the national charity which aims to eradicate fuel poverty and campaigns for greater investment in energy efficiency to help those who are poor and vulnerable
· You can find out more about the Energy Bill Revolution campaign here
*Image: Caroline Lucas MP, with, left, Kayla Ente, Founding Director of BHESCo and Varndean School’s Michelle Asbury, receiving advice on energy suppliers