Uncategorized Archives - South East London Community Energy

Uncategorized Archives - South East London Community Energy

We’re recruiting

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Are you looking for hands-on practical experience of working at a grass roots community level to promote energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty? If so volunteering to support our ECO Project could be for you.


Here at South East London Community Energy (SELCE) we’re working on an exciting new project that builds on our creative, innovative work addressing climate change and fuel poverty in practical, tangible ways and you can help shape it.  In partnership with Lewisham Council and Retrofit Works – a co-operative of high quality contractors – we’re looking to build a sustainable approach to finding those who are most in need of energy efficiency support and linking them in to funding. This pilot will allow partners to pool their knowledge and expertise to innovate a new needs-led approach and you’ll be at the heart of this process.


There’s a huge need for this scheme – 1 in 10 of the households in Lewisham are unable to afford to stay warm and well, and you’ll be able to make a real difference to their lives. Aging heating systems and poorly insulated homes are a large part of the problem; this scheme will provide funding to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Unfortunately, many of those at risk of fuel poverty don’t know that such financial help exists or may not understand the benefits. You will be part of a team whose role is to find those that can benefit and, provide people with the information, motivation and support needed to sign up.


We’ll provide you with all the training that you would need and you’ll be supervised and supported throughout the project by our project manager. You will have opportunities to learn about domestic energy efficiency, fuel poverty and community engagement. As a central part of the team you’ll be able to feed into the development of the project. Click here for the role description

ECO Project Volunteer Role Description

SELCE’s Energy Advice Cafes – just one month left to book a consultation

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Energy costs are on the increase again, so don’t miss this opportunity to find out how you can avoid pay more for your gas and electricity. SELCE is offering free advice on how to get the best energy deals and how to keep the cold out.

SELCE’s trained energy advisors are offering individual support over a cup of tea and a slice of cake at weekly advice sessions in Woolwich and Catford. We are particularly keen to provide help to pensioners,anyone on benefits, people with small children and people with long term medical conditions. We also provide energy advice training sessions for front line workers.

The SELCE co-operative has secured funding from the government’s Big Energy Saving Network initiative and its energy advisors can help residents to access available support and services as well. Support can also be provided to deal with fuel bill arrears.

The new Energy Cafés are being held on Mondays from 10am to 4pm at the Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington St, London SE18 6HQ and on Tuesdays from 10am to 4pm at Lewisham Homes’ customer support office on the ground floor of Catford Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU. The session are only available until March 21st, so don’t delay.

If you are interesting in attending a session, you can either drop-in on the day or book an appointment on SELCE’s website at bit.ly/Catford. Anyone attending a session should bring their latest gas and electricity bills with them.

For more information on training for frontline workers, please email Alex Hartley at Alex@selce.org.uk

We’re recruiting for ‘Parent Power’ project

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Do you know anyone who would be interested in working on a part-time project for SELCE? The co-op has been awarded funding from the Energy People Trust for ‘Parent Power’, an innovative programme that will identify families in extreme fuel poverty and provide them with tailored, peer-­led assistance.

The Parent Power project will provide support to 150 families who use the children’s centre services in Woolwich. The idea is to recruit a team of parents to become ‘energy champions’. These champions will receive a professional qualification that will equip them with the skills to give energy advice. Champions will work with families who have been identified as being at risk of fuel poverty by Children’s Centre staff and will provide support to them at home.

We are now recruiting a project manager to lead this initiative. We’re looking for someone who is experienced in providing energy advice, initiating energy saving measures in the home and working with volunteers. If you are interested, or you know anyone who might be interested, contact giovanna@selce.org.uk  Full details of the role can be found here:

Parent Power Project Manager

SELCE launches price comparison site

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If you’re thinking about switching to a better energy deal, you might want to use SELCE’s price comparison site. Our experience as energy advisors suggests that, if you haven’t switched in the last 12 months, doing so will almost certainly save you around £200 – or possibly more.

Our new webpage provides quotes from all approved energy providers and each time the site is used, SELCE receives a donation. It would be great if you could send the link to your friends and family as well. This income will go towards our fuel poverty work.

You can go directly to our price comparison site here:

SELCE energy comparison page

If you live in London, you may be interested in the the Big London Energy Switch. If you join one of the local council schemes involved in the Switch, you can save money on your bills through ‘collective bargaining’ with other energy users in your area.

More details can be found here:

Big London Energy Switch

SELCE celebrates success of second community share offer

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Corks popped in the office last week as SELCE celebrated the success of its second share offer. Thanks to the support of new and returning investors, we have now raised a further £120,000 to install solar arrays on three more primary schools in SE London. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part in the share offer. In fact, the offer was so popular that we oversubscribed and had to close a few days earlier than planned. Never one to let the grass grow beneath her feet, Giovanna is now overseeing the start of installation work on the schools’ roofs.

Photo: a big thanks to Alex (second from right) for providing the bunting, party drinks and food and to Susannah (second from left) for fashioning a mini solar panel to go on the top of our celebration cake. Also pictured (from left to right) Anna, Camilla, Sergio and Giovanna.

SELCE commended by London Assembly’s green champion

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SELCE has been commended for its success in raising funds to install solar panels on community buildings in SE London by the chair of the London Assembly’s environment committee.

Celebrating the success of its first fundraising project and launching a second similar project, SELCE held a special event in the central chamber of City Hall last Friday, thanks to the support of Len Duvall, assembly member for Greenwich and Lewisham.

Speaking at the event, Leonie Cooper, assembly member for Merton and Wandsworth (pictured top row, second from right) and chair of the London Assembly’s green group, praised SELCE’s determination to bring their project to life.

‘SELCE’s work is really inspiring,’ she said. ‘I am part of a renewable energy group in Wandsworth and we have really struggled. So, I am really impressed by SELCE’s success because I know exactly how difficult it can be to make these projects happen.’

The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was unable to attend SELCE’s event at City Hall but he sent a message to the co-operative wishing them ‘every success for the launch and with your future initiatives and endeavours’.Group City Hall

Last year SELCE raised £250,000 to install solar arrays on four local primary schools (two in Lewisham and two in Greenwich). All four arrays have been installed and SELCE is now aiming to raise another £140,000 to provide arrays for a further three schools and a social club in the boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark. Please see our ‘invest’ tab for further details.

City Hall 2


SELCE gets thumbs up from VIPs

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SELCE’s first solar project has been given a big thumbs-up by local VIPs. To mark the ‘go live’ of our solar arrays, SELCE held two celebrations, one in the borough of Greenwich (at Mulgrave Primary School – see below) and the other in Lewisham (at Ashmead Primary School).

At the Greenwich event in March, local MP, Matthew Pennycook, described the 15-strong team behind SELCE as ‘true pioneers’ who had put in over 6,000 volunteer hours to bring their project to life.

Also at the event, Greater London Authority representative for Greenwich and Lewisham, Len Duvall, said he shared the non-for-profit organsation’s desire for a ‘fairer, more sustainable energy future for London’, while the mayor of Greenwich described SELCE as a, “beacon of light for positive change.”

The Lewisham celebration at the beginning of June was attended by the borough’s mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, who described the project as ‘deeply impressive’. ‘It’s a great project and it’s been really well done,’ he added.  We have estimated that, combined, the solar arrays in our first project will save the schools more than £350,000 over the next 20 years, while carbon emissions will be reduced by a total of almost 2,000 metric tons.

Finally, we were privileged to have leading environmentalist, Jonathon Porritt, as guest speaker for recent our public debate, Never Mind The Brexit: Let’s Get Serious About A Sustainable Future. The former director of Friends of the Earth and ex-chairman of the Commission for Sustainable Development is clearly passionate about the value of community energy and told us that he is a shareholder in no less than ten projects around the country (and he hinted that ours might be his eleventh investment).

Jonathon was also keen to stress how community energy groups are an important focal point for community cohesion and the development of a collective vision of a fairer and greener future. In the light of the shock Brexit vote, it is now more important than ever that we come together to ensure that this vision becomes a reality.

SELCE celebrates solar success with Greenwich school

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1. best shot kids and thank you Adam Pope

Photo: Adam Pope

On the first truly Spring-like day of the year, SELCE was joined by Greenwich-based VIPs, members and schoolkids to celebrate the success of our £250,000 community share offer and the official switch-on of our 184-panel solar array at Mulgrave Primary School in Woolwich.

Describing SELCE as a “beacon of light” for positive change in the world, Greenwich’s mayor, Norman Adams, gave us a big thumbs as he unveiled a specially installed solar display unit near the school’s entrance. The unit will show Mulgrave pupils how much energy the solar array produces each day.

MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, Matthew Pennycook, and London Assembly member for Greenwich and Lewisham, Len Duvall, gave short speeches commending SELCE, its members and volunteers for their pioneering work. The mayor and Matthew Pennycook later joined us on the roof to see the panels at first hand.

‘It is inspiring to see the huge effort that SELCE has put into making their vision become a reality. We all share their desire for a fairer, more sustainable energy future for London and the co-operative has my wholehearted support.’ Len Duvall, Assembly Member for Greenwich and Lewisham.

“I am enormously impressed by how much the SELCE team has achieved in a comparatively short period of time. They are true pioneers and community-based projects like theirs should be supported by both local and national government to accelerate the development of renewable energy in the UK.” Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich.

Pupils from Mulgrave’s Eco Team presented bunches of daffodils to guests who had ‘gone beyond the call of duty to support SELCE’ and had become what Giovanna described as a ‘coalition of the willing’ to make our first solar project come to life. We gave particular thanks to local councillor Harry Singh, Mulgrave’s former head teacher, Dr David  Dixon, and Claire Pritchard from Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency who have all championed SELCE from the very beginning.

SELCE will be holding a second celebration in Lewisham with borough mayor Sir Steve Bullock on the evening of June 14th.



Group w:o board Selim KorsPhoto: Selim Korycki


Group at solar display panel Adam Pope

Best roof shot by Selim Korycki







Photos Selim Korycki

SELCE’s brainstorming weekend

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Barn demure bigAfter the success of SELCE’s first community share offer, the co-op’s directors and volunteers started 2016 with a brainstorming weekend in Kent. Our aim was to discuss a range of projects that we could develop over the medium term.

Sadly, the Chancellor’s recent decision to reduce subsidies for solar energy means that we need to look at new business models if we want to continue developing community energy projects and reducing fuel poverty in SE London.

The really good news is that SELCE ‘pre-accredited’ eight local community buildings before the subsidy cuts were introduced. This means that we’ll be able to launch a second solar-based community share offer (with annual interest payments of around 4% to investors) later this year.

Meanwhile, new projects considered during the brainstorming weekend included: a permanent energy advice shop and cafe; a business plan based on improving water use efficiency in schools and community buildings; and setting up a solar-powered car club for SE London.

Based in a picturesque, if rather chilly, Georgian barn, the SELCE team went through the pros and cons of each of the nine ideas on the table as well as fine-tuning SELCE’s structure and governance. We also took some time out for a walk through the Kentish countryside and a quick visit to the local pub.

The photo below shows nearly all of the team (somehow we failed to get any photos of the entire crew together). Incidentally, the barn was so cold when we arrived that we spent our first two sessions dressed in overcoats, hats and gloves. The barn’s owner declined our offer of expert advice on heat insulation but, mercifully, she did provide us with two extra heaters.

Big thanks to everyone who came along for making the weekend so fun and productive.

£250,000 raised in first SELCE share offer

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The beginning of a beautiful friendship….

2015 ended on a real high for SELCE following the successful completion of our first share offer. We’re hugely appreciative of the vision shown by everyone who has contributed to making SELCE’s solar project a reality.

Over the past year we’ve had some nail-biting moments as we worked our way through the complex legal process of bringing five different parties together (councils, school governors, installers, solicitors and SELCE itself) – against extremely tight deadlines and an ever-changing political landscape.

However, thanks to the 138 investors who have joined the SELCE community, we hit our funding target of £250,000. And since the close of the share offer, we haven’t wasted any time. Solar panels have now been installed on all four of our partner schools. The photo below is of one of SELCE’s directors, Simon Quamie, overseeing the installations.  Now we’re busy preparing for our second solar share offer which will be launched Simon on roofat the beginning of the summer. Watch this space.


Huge thanks to everyone who has supported SELCE

We would particularly like to thank all the individuals and organisations who have provided invaluable support along the way to our first solar installations.

If we listed everyone who has stuck their neck out on our behalf and contributed something to the project, the list would take up several pages. But special mention must go to (in no particular order): The team at Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency which has supported SELCE from the beginning at no charge; Chris Benbow and Henry Sheldon from Ashurst solicitors who have provided us with untiring and excellent legal representation on a pro-bono basis; all of the officers at Lewisham Council and Royal Greenwich who have, in various ways, gone above and beyond the call of duty and, in particular, Martin O’Brien (Lewisham) and Heather Yedigarov (Royal Greenwich), and the legal and property teams.

Huge thanks also goes to all the members of staff at our partner schools with particular thanks to Julie Loftstadd and Verity Wakelium (Horniman School), Sean O’Flynn, Julia Costello and Angelo Lione (Ashmead School), David Dixon and Dermot Hughes (Mulgrave School), Mark Dale Emberton and Caroline O’Shea (Charlton Park Academy); and our installers, GHG Energy, who have battled against fierce winds and driving rain to complete the installation and consistently provided excellent advice.

Thanks also to our local politicians and mayors, in particular Lewisham’s mayor Sir Steve Bullock, and cllr Paul Upex and to Royal Greenwich’s mayor Norman Adams and cllrs John Fahy and Harpinder Singh; to those organisations who supported us and, in particular, Alex Germanis (Pure Leapfrog), Harriet Sansom (Centre for Sustainable Energy), Will Cottrell (Brighton Energy Co-op), Benn Dodd (Community Shares Unit), and the team at Co-ops London.

Thanks too to those organisations that helped us to spread the word about our share offer, in particular: 10:10, SE2, the Energy Saving Trust, Project Dirt, Demand Energy Equality, We Care, The Greenwich Green Party and Quaker Peace and Justice; all the directors, advisors, volunteers of SELCE (you know who you are) who have pulled together as a team and who, together, contributed over 4000 hours of unpaid work. And, of course, many thanks to you, our members.