Creating a network of Community Energy Champions network in Milton Keynes
Community Action: MK and the MK:Smart team at The Open University, with help from other CAPE Project partners, have teamed up to deliver a pilot project in Milton Keynes that will focus on recruiting and training community members to become volunteer Energy Champions in their neighbourhoods and communities.
The project has been made possible thanks to the funding from the Natural Environment Research Council as part of their recent funding call on ‘Engaging the UK public with the big issues of environmental science’. The Energage project is one of 18 across the UK – click here to find out more about this funding initiative.
The initiative is the result of successful collaboration and partnership-working between Community Action: MK and the Open University through the CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy and MK:Smart projects. It is also closely linked to the work of other local organisations in Milton Keynes that promote the concept of community-owned and sustainable energy. These include Transition MK, Wolverton Community Energy (through Citizens:mk) and others involved in MK Community Energy Alliance and other organisations who already provide energy training such as The National Energy Foundation and Citizens Advice Milton Keynes.
There is already a number of local volunteers who champion sustainable energy and environmental awareness in Milton Keynes, and we want to learn from their experiences. Further, we want to attract new people – anyone with an interest in energy and sustainability, and ways of helping their own communities be more sustainable is welcomed to get involved in the project, and is asked to please get in contact with Community Action: MK.
(COMECs) in Milton Keynes. One important part of the COMECs’ role will be to translate energy-based research from the Open University to the general public in a way that will help them find solutions that work to reduce their own carbon footprint. In return Open University researchers will learn better ways to engage the public with their research. This exchange of knowledge will occur through a series of co-creation workshops, facilitated by Community Action: MK.
Another important part of their role will be to grow the network through recruitment of new volunteers. Initial workshops will be followed by a ‘week of action’ in which COMECs will engage with the public. They will share their experiences amongst the community engagement specialists and Open University researchers. This pilot scheme is intended to be the start of longer term engagement between Open University energy researchers and the public.
Energage hope to build upon activities of the existing CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy project at the Open University and lots of other energy-related initiatives across the city. The CAPE project aims to help reduce the carbon footprint of Milton Keynes by engaging the public with relevant data; it will also be linking homeowners identified as a good fit for energy saving measures (e.g. solar panels, loft insulation) with companies that can provide products, or to grant providers, such as the MK Council.
We will be actively promoting the project in the next few weeks and updating you about its further plans. If you are interested in getting involved, please click here to register your interest or contact Anna at Community Action: MK on:
01908 661 623/ 07710 967131