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  • Writer's pictureMake It Happen Team

Community Energy Forum

Last Thursday, representatives from Make It Happen attended the Birkenhead Community Energy Forum at The Lauries here in the heart of Birkenhead.

As much as it is a terrible situation to be meeting in, it was good to see many other local organisations present, including Wirral Change, Community Action Wirral, NEO community, Wirral Foodbank and many others. We began with a few questions from our local MP to consider and feed-back on:

  • How have rising energy prices affected you and your family?

  • What additional support would you like from the government this winter?

  • How should Birkenhead, as a community, respond to the energy crisis?

We brought many of the experiences that our community members have shared with us in the last few months to the table and did our very best to ensure that your voices were heard and contributed to the conversation around what the government could be doing to better support us all through this winter and beyond.

One example of an issue we highlighted was all the confusing communication we all get through Energy Suppliers, Local Government, social media and the media, with people receiving contradictory and confusing bills and messages, which leaves many with a sense of uncertainty that undermines their mental health. We felt that public messaging could be achieved far better in many ways, from better placement on websites to being more connected with supporting schemes and organisations.

So many people commented that there is no one good place to access all the resources Government is saying they have in place, while the language used to describe support is often intimidating in its complexity. Topics such as heating support in schools and public warm hubs were also big on the agenda!

After the group consultation work, it was great to hear from a panel of experts from 'The Frontlines of the Crisis'. These included Julie Murphy of Citizens Advice Wirral, Richard Roberts from Wirral Foodbank, Dominic Griffiths from Energy Project Plus, Jamie Anderson of Age UK Wirral and Ged Smyth, a well-known local disabilities activist. In a nutshell, it was a room of good people with bad news, unfortunately.

We feel it is incredibly important for all of us in our community to be able to contribute our voices, and it was a privilege to be able to do this. If you need any advice or support around your energy bills there are a range of options at the moment...

Making your home more energy efficient;

NEA Warm and Safe Homes advice service: 0800 304 7159

Help with Anxiety and Stress around rising energy bills:

Samaritans: 116 123

Mind: 0300 123 3393

Campaign against living miserably: 0800 585 858

Debt Advice:

StepChange Debt Charity: 0800 138 1111

Turn2us: 08088022000

National Debtline: 0808 808 4000

Learn about Smart Meters:

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