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  • Writer's pictureWiltshire Wildlife

Michelle Donelan MP celebrates WWCE energy advice initiative


Since its launch in November 2022, Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy’s (WWCE) Keeping Warm This Winter pop-up energy advice sessions have helped over 340 Wiltshire residents to better understand how they can stay warm while reducing their energy bills over the colder months.


The programme proved so successful that it attracted the attention of Chippenham MP and Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, who joined the WWCE team for one of its final energy cafés at Melksham Library recently.


Ms Donelan first contacted the organisation in December last year and was pleased to accept its invitation to attend in person. She said, “It was great to see for myself the community support being offered by WWCE in Melksham. These energy workshops have been proving invaluable for local people, providing them with the much-needed tools to reduce their bills with advice, tips and support.”


Jessica Thimbleby, WWCE’s carbon reduction champion has been working closely with a host of local community groups and organisations to run a total of 16 sessions across Melksham and Purton. Her informative energy advice cafes have been hosted by groups including the Community Larder, That Meeting Space, and Melksham Library, as well as Pips Community Café and Swindon Lip Reading Group.


Julian Barlow Chair of WWCE said, “As well as being Chair of WWCE I am also a local Parish Councillor from Compton Bassett, a small Wiltshire Village, so am all too aware of the devastating effect these cruel energy price hikes have been having on the more vulnerable members of our community in Wiltshire. That is why I am so pleased that our community energy company can provide practical tips and advice and am not surprised that Jess’ work has garnered such praise from Michelle Donelan MP.”


Jessica added, “The events have been well received by residents in both Melksham and Purton. The feedback we’ve had has been overwhelmingly positive, and it’s clear that the cafes have been very helpful, particularly the practical displays which have reached people who have been struggling with spiralling energy bills. WWCE is hugely grateful to all of the groups that we have partnered with over the past five months, and I hope everyone went away having learnt new things, including how to access further support.”


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 warmandsafe@cse.org.uk. 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 office@wascu.co.uk, and Lendology, (01823 461099) or enquiries@wrcic.org.uk may be able to help with affordable loans towards home improvements, including boiler replacement in Wiltshire.


The Keeping Warm This Winter service has joined the new Rural Communities Energy Support Network run by the Centre for Sustainable Energy with Wessex Community Action, to help community organisations support more people across Wiltshire with energy advice – contact warmandsafe@cse.org.uk for more information.

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