Millions of people in Britain are struggling to heat and power their homes. On average 25,000 people die of the cold each year. At least a third of these deaths are caused by living in cold homes. This means that, every year, four times more people die from living in cold homes than die on British roads. Cold homes cost the NHS £1.3bn every year (Energy Bill Revolution). Around 8% of households in Greenwich and Lewisham are currently suffering from the effects of high bills and hard-to-heat dwellings.

The UK’s homes are some of the least energy efficient in Europe – leaking heat from their doors, walls and windows. Moreover many people are not used to the newer “consumer” landscape and having to shops around for a new deal for all household expenditures, especially energy.

SELCE is committed to tackling fuel poverty head on. We will use any financial surplus from our renewable generation work to fund support for those who are most vulnerable. We will also add to these funds from grant-based funding.

SELCE’s initial work on fuel poverty has given us a much better understanding of the issues affecting people in SE London. We will continue to build on this knowledge and seek further funding to develop our core activities in this area.

At the moment there are no current programs. Please get in touch if you would like to help SELCE tackle fuel poverty in the future.

Previous Projects Delivered

The Big Energy Saving Network

The Big Energy Saving Network (BESN) is a programme that is funded and run by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It enables specially trained ‘champions’ to deliver proactive advice to consumers on energy issues.

In the winter of 2014/2015, SELCE was successful in bidding for funding from the BESN project. Two of its directors became ‘energy champions’ for Greenwich and Lewisham. We used a variety of approaches to provide advice and support to the most vulnerable energy users.

In total, we helped 240 vulnerable customers and trained 96 front-line workers to provide similar support to their clients. Working in partnership with grassroots community groups, tenants groups, disability groups and schools and children’s centres has enabled us to reach the most vulnerable. Our research found that 37% of the people we helped are in receipt of means tested benefits, 29% are disabled, 48% are aged over 50 and 32% pay for their energy using a pre-payment meter.

Energy Cafes funded by Ebico

Our ‘People Power’ café programme, funded by Ebico Trust, overcame barriers to seeking advice with the aid of a cup of tea and a slice of cake – building on a successful model of fuel poverty intervention piloted in March 2015.

The People Power Cafés have provided personalised one-to-one advice sessions to 250 households at risk of fuel poverty.

Bi-weekly People Power Cafés have been held over the course of the winter months in four locations across Greenwich and Lewisham. Each location is characterised by a high incidence of fuel poverty, income deprivation and thermally-inefficient housing stock.

SELCE has worked to develop relationships with front-line workers in community groups and local authorities to develop referral pathways into the People Power cafes.


SELCE pop-up energy cafés
SELCE was one of the winners of the recent Community Energy Saving Competition, also run by DECC. This enabled us to deliver a series of innovative pop-up energy cafés in March 2015.

Over the course of three weeks, SELCE held an ‘energy café’ in three community cafés: The Green Man in Lewisham, Woolwich Common Community Cafe (Woolwich Common) and in the café at The Forum @ Greenwich. These locations were chosen because they were situated in areas with relatively high levels of fuel poverty.

Overall, we supported 148 people. Participants received personalised, face-to-face support to switch energy suppliers and improve energy efficiency in their homes. Depending on their circumstances, we were also able to provide information on trusted providers of energy debt support.

Again, the energy cafés proved to be a very effective way to reach the most vulnerable: 38% of the people who we worked with were older (above 60 years of age) whilst 27% were parents of young children; 26% were disabled; 14% were carers for someone who is disabled or suffering from long-term illness and 29% are in receipt of means-tested benefits. We received many glowing video testimonials, some which can be viewed on our Facebook page here.

(We are even endorsed by the Mayor!)