SWALLOW’s Energy Saving Project

Jade Ogden, Trusts and Events Fundraiser, from SWALLOW Charity writes “SWALLOW wanted to help make information about saving energy accessible to our members with learning disabilities.   It is an area where our members had expressed concern, particularly during the winter of the cost-of-living crisis and information about energy is often jargon-filled and difficult to understand.  We are very grateful to the Bath and West Community Energy fund for enabling our project to happen.

Our project got started with a face-to-face workshop from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, which was attended by our senior staff team.  This provided lots of insight and practical tips around energy saving and bringing bills down.  Our team were then able to disseminate the information to our members in an accessible way, through interactive sessions at our tenants’ meetings, our user-led Management Committee meeting and at our Base House training home for young adults with learning disabilities.

These sessions made a really positive difference to our members, most of whom were aware of turning lights off when not in the room, but beyond this had few ideas about how they could save energy.  Members reported finding the energy saving information sessions very useful – after the sessions, they were buzzing with new ideas. The information was transformative and resulted in two of our supported living homes seeking a new frost-free fridge freezer, to reduce the amount of energy that gets used if a freezer frequently frosts up.

We also created a selection of Easy Read documents about recycling, to compliment the leaflets that the Centre for Sustainable Energy supplied.  It was fantastic to be able to facilitate a paid work opportunity for an Easy Read checker through this.  A SWALLOW member was delighted to take on the role and quality check the new documents for their accessibility.  She is a regular volunteer here at SWALLOW, and having a paid role where she could apply her expertise was very special for her.

Additionally, the final strand of the project was making draught excluders, which our Work Skills Enterprise Scheme members really enjoyed creating.  They made a range of beautiful pom-pom sheep draft excluders, which proved very popular in SWALLOW’s online shop.

This project will no doubt continue to enhance energy saving for more winters to come, as staff and members alike apply their new-found knowledge and keep a keen eye on their bills.”