There are already some great groups and activities in the Maldon District, driven by some very well informed and committed local people, carving out methods to mitigate climate change.
Often those activities attract interest from quite a small catchment, so with their blessing, Community Energy South set about firing up some interest in community energy, that might attract people from all corners of the district. It can often take a population size of 60,000 people to draw 10-20 committed individuals.
We put out a flyer inviting people to an informal chat about this. We baked mince pies, bought some draught busting giveaways and put up posters about community energy options, for an evening at West Maldon Community Centre. The chat was lively and all kinds of preferences were aired. We were particularly grateful to Stuart Bird of the nearby Sustainable Danbury group sharing his experience of working with CES in setting up their group and getting projects started. We brought along a thermal imaging camera so everyone could have a play – this really got people thinking about this tech as an engagement method. In fact, they didn’t want a boring group photo, but a thermal one!
We discussed how many new community energy groups aim to generate local energy from the start. However, a lot of places find they gain more traction in gathering local volunteers, by simple conversations about draught-busting and grants for low carbon upgrades. We love this approach because this generates trust in community energy – opening the door for new people to become part of a group, no matter their experience, expertise or lack of it. For us, the greatest characteristic needed to take part is having a collaborative nature – being open and sharing.
We also expect that existing groups, parish councils and local charities might see a way of collaborating on some kind of ‘leaky homes’ detective programme using thermal imaging. CES are here to help bring it all together, thanks to the support of Essex County Council and Maldon District Council who are behind us all the way.
What next? Everyone present will use the image, the flyer and posters, to spread the message across their contacts in Maldon. We hope to find people who want to be part of the new group. Get in contact, if this is you!