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Keeping Warm This Winter

In response to the energy crisis, WWCE launched a new project during the winter of 2022/23 to support households struggling with energy costs. Developed by WWCE’s carbon reduction champion Jessica Thimbleby, ‘Keeping Warm This Winter’ is a community-based initiative which initially sought to provide pop-up ‘Energy Advice Cafes’ in and around Melksham and Purton.

During pop-up ‘cafes’ in a familiar and relaxed setting, Jessica provides tips and advice on how to reduce energy use at home and save money. The sessions demonstrate some of the practical, low-cost energy efficiency measures people can take, and answers questions on a range of topics including draught-proofing, reducing damp and mould, and insulating homes.  She can also help refer people to Warm and Safe Wiltshire for further support, signposting those who may be eligible for emergency help or grants to allow them to install larger efficiency measures, including insulation or a more efficient boiler.


Winter 2023/24

Following the success of the inaugural scheme, WWCE decided to bring Keeping Warm This Winter back for a second year. So far, Jessica has been hosted by Food Banks across Wiltshire and has also been working with community groups in and around Hilmarton, a more isolated part of the county where people often have to use domestic heating oil in their boilers and may live in older, solid wall homes that can be harder to heat.

WWCE is grateful to be a member of the Rural Communities Energy Support Network, run by the Centre for Sustainable Energy to support the delivery of this project.

This Keeping Warm This Winter leaflet provides an overview of simple, free or low cost tips to feel warmer at home.

Jessica says, “The feedback from the groups we partnered with and the residents who attended the sessions we ran last winter was overwhelmingly positive - it’s clear that the cafes really helped people who were struggling with spiraling energy bills. Sadly, the landscape has not improved going into winter 2023 and we’re seeing worrying statistics around the number of people in arrears already.

If you are involved in a group that could benefit from hosting an energy café this winter, please contact

Winter 2022/23

Hosted by community organisations and groups working with the people likely to be most concerned about rising energy bills, last year Jessica spoke to 360 residents at 16 events. The project’s success led to it being shortlisted by Community Energy England for its national Fuel Poverty Action award and attracted the attention of local MP and Secretary of State, Michelle Donelan.

Here's just some of the positive feedback received last year:

Nearly everyone learned new things and where to find the information {they needed}. The practical displays piqued most interest and conversations” John, That Meeting Space

The Energy Cafe was very helpful to people in our group.  People have been talking about what they can do to reduce energy bills which is good. It was very useful and informative.” Kay, Foodbank Manager

Lots of tangible things for people to see, touch and learn about – it was practical advice, real “hands on” examples.” Teresa, Melksham Without Parish Council


Further help:


If your heating system is broken and you can’t afford to repair or replace it, or if you’re worried about paying your heating bills, contact Warm and Safe Wiltshire on 0800 038 5722 or  Citizens Advice (0808 223 1133) and Age UK Wiltshire (0808 196 2424) can also offer help and advice.


Financial help to install energy efficiency measures is available with eligibility for schemes often dependent on household circumstances and income, to prioritise low income households. The Wiltshire & Swindon Credit Union (01793 522216) or, and Lendology, (01823 461099) or may be able to help with affordable loans towards home improvements, including boiler replacement in Wiltshire.


National Debtline – or call Freephone 0808 808 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9:30am to 1pm.


Step Change - online debt advice service or speak to an advisor Tel: 0800 138 1111 Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm and Saturday 9am and 2pm.

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