Worcestershire Strategic Partnership The Worcestershire Partnership brings together local government, public services such as health, learning providers, police and probation, voluntary and community organisations and local businesses within Worcestershire.
The Worcestershire Strategic Partnership identified that fuel poverty targets in their Local Area Agreement were unlikely to be met and that extra funding would be required to drive this agenda forward. The bid proposed a thermal image fly over survey to identify heat loss from roofs of properties in Worcestershire (following on from the Wychavon thermal image two years previous).
There were two projects of targeted work that took place within the Warmer Worcestershire project. The first being able to get information on grants to those people in fuel poverty through community energy surgeries. The second project beinga targeted
, mailing to 1000 historic properties where the owners may not be aware of the action they can take to reduce their energy use and save money on bills.
The partnership was awarded £92,000 to kick start the Warmer Worcestershire project. A small task and finish group was established to see the project through splitting the funding between the thermal image and marketing and awareness raising. Following the tendering process, a county-wide thermal image survey was undertaken during the winter 2008/2009. The project has evolved with the help of funding from Department for Health.
- The aim was to make the thermal image interactive map available to the public and in house cross reference benefit data with the worse performing properties to know where to target grant information.
- To provide a one stop shop advice service.
- A free phone support line through their local energy advice centre, Act on Energy.
The group acknowledged that there are limitations to the thermal image such as:
- Only identifying roof temperature.
- The temperature can be influenced by other factors such as chimneys.
- The assessment of roof temperature being a comparative measure. Roof temperature is compared to the surroundings thus properties in rural areas appear to perform worse than those in urban areas.
The campaign is continuing to evolve, taking the opportunity not only to encourage saving energy but highlight the benefits of a suitably heated home for health and advantages of maintenance checks. The key aspects to its success are:
- It’s involvement with the public, in informing them how to reduce energy through an advice service and a free phone support line.
- Wide spread recognition of the scheme through marketing and brand awareness.
- Support from the local media around this topic area. This has continued throughout the later stages of the project.
- Making the data accessible to the public so they can have a better idea of their energy efficiency and how to make changes.
- Making the public aware that this is not an exact science and it is only to be used as a guide due to the other factors which could influence temperature.
- Involving the public to create a competitive edge between neighbours in their local area.
The thermal image has been an excellent awareness raising tool
- Thethermal image map is a conversation starter for visitors to energy events.
- It brings out a competitive streak in many people comparing their homes with their neighbours.
- Following the launch of the Warmer Worcestershire website during summer 2009, the project received significant newspaper and radio coverage and averaged 1,500 visits to the website in per month.
- Since the campaign launch in 2009, the Warmer Worcestershire logo has become a well identified brand locally for home energy efficiency information.
- The group has now received nearly £93,000 from the Warm Homes, Healthy people fund through Department of Health which will support vulnerable residents during the winter (mainly through a referral scheme and provision of emergency heating packs). This will also support a Countywide home insulation scheme funded by Worcestershire County Council.
- Warmer Worcestershire has had increasing involvement and interest from the public over time, in March 2010 the residents survey identified that nearly a quarter of respondents were aware of the Warmer Worcestershire brand, and in November of the following year about 20% were still aware of the brand.
- Establishing an easily recognisable brand is very important. All energy efficiency work is now covered by this brand in Worcestershire.
- Establish links with other public sector bodies and voluntary groups to offer a joined up information service.For example; a representative from the fire service conducting a fire safety check could also identify if the home was not heated correctly.
- The importance of gaining the trust of the members of the local community. For example door knocking with Fire Service staff had a greater success rate due to the trusted uniform.
- Popularity of thermocards. Rather than producing leaflets about Warmer Worcestershire, the project group had thermometer cards made which offer a guide to the current temperature of your room and whether this is too cold or too hot. These have evolved to incorporate the referral form for Warm homes, healthy people project.
- Sometimes it is not even possibly to give things away free. Many residents did not believe the offer of free insulation from the local authority was genuine.
We like the public involvement at all stages of the thermal imaging process, raising awareness and ultimately helping to increase energy efficiency across Worcestershire, and this work is continuing.