A project in Buckinghamshire, managed by Dale Hoyland, an employee at the National Energy Foundation in Milton Keynes, has won a national award from the charity, National Energy Action.
The Community Action Award was presented to Tahir Aziz, Buckinghamshire County Council Children’s Partnership Team, and Dale Hoyland, the Foundation’s Local Authority Services Manager, for their work on the Bucks Big Heat project last winter.
The Bucks Big Heat project, initially funded through a successful grant application to Bucks Community Foundation, helped families in the county who were struggling with rising energy bills. The scheme provided vouchers, which were credited against the families’ energy bills and were paid directly to the suppliers.
However, as voucher payments are only part of the answer, and not a long-term solution, each family was also provided with a range of other help, including: a whole-house electricity monitor, a PowerDown plug for their television, thermometer cards to ensure that correct heating temperatures were being achieved and lots of advice to highlight how easy it is to save money on energy bills.
The original project attracted over twice as many referrals from participating Buckinghamshire Children’s Centres as could be awarded under the limited funding available so National Energy Action, as part of the Community Action Award, provided an additional £1,500 for the project, enabling more families than originally expected to be helped through the project.
Receiving the award at the recent presentation event, Dale Hoyland said:
“With Christmas just six months away, it should be a time for celebration and joy - but for many parents struggling with rising energy bills, it will be a time of financial stress and worry. However, there are lots of easy things we can do to insulate ourselves against increased winter-time bills.
“The National Energy Foundation coordinates the Affordable Warmth Network , a partnership of lots of organisations dedicated to helping those residents most in need to reduce their energy bills and heat their homes affordably and efficiently. This recognition via the NEA’s Community Action Award is very gratefully received, and is testament to the significant number of volunteer hours that many have put into the Bucks Big Heat project.”