04-12-2019 by 
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Between July and November 2019 we ran two Community Energy Ambassadors training courses in Selby, jointly funded by the Central CEF, WEA and Stronger Communities.

In total we had 16 people attend across the two courses, these included volunteers involved with Selby Food Bank, Horton Housing Community Cafes, Big Local, Selby District Disability Forum, Selby AVS, St Wilfrid’s Wellbeing Café, Over 50s Computing Club, Hands of Hope, Selby Abbey, Selby Community Choir, Friendship Friday, and Horizons, as well as a few interested residents.

During the session on energy bills and switching, attendees brought in their own energy bills and we reviewed their tariffs. Actual savings were generated of £1,865 just from people on the course switching their own energy supplier or tariff, applying for financial help towards their bills or getting a water meter fitted. This was a vital part of the course as, by going through the process themselves, attendees are much better equipped to then talk to others, to be able to share their own experience, and to allay any fears.

One unexpected outcome came from a discussion around solar panels which led to one attendee discovering that her elderly father had been persuaded to pay £1000s to have un-necessary equipment fitted to his existing solar PV installation. With our support the participant has subsequently felt empowered to take the case on to try and get him some money back and his bank has refunded approx £4k.

What did attendees find most useful on the course?

  • “to learn how to save money and to switch suppliers [and] how much energy we do actually use”
  • “Everything was useful”
  • “how to understand my energy bills”
  • “the way the course was presented with quizzes, facts and slide information”
  • “info on insulation and heating improvements”
  • “learning what appliances cost to run”
  • “learning about what help there is”

 Some other comments:

  • “Totally brilliant course”
  • “I now feel confident to address my finances and bills”
  • “Very informative, well set out, tutor was very knowledgeable”
  • “Very informative, well run course”
  • “Loved it!”
  • “I really enjoyed the course”
  • “The course was very good”