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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy's free ‘solar powered’ energy advice service shortlisted for national award

The Business Magazine article image for: Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy's free ‘solar powered’ energy advice service shortlisted for national award
Jessica Thimbleby and Julian Barlow of WWCE with Michelle Donelan MP
16 November 2023
Jessica Thimbleby and Julian Barlow of WWCE with Michelle Donelan MP

A free energy advice service run by Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy (WWCE), one of the county’s largest not-for-profit solar energy enterprises, has been named amongst just three national finalists in the Fuel Poverty Action category at the Community Energy England Awards 2023.

The UK wide awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements by organisations in the burgeoning community energy sector, including acknowledging those who have made remarkable contributions to address the multifaceted challenges of fuel poverty and energy efficiency in England.

WWCE has been shortlisted for its Keeping Warm This Winter pop-up energy advice initiative which was introduced in November 2022.

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Led by its carbon reduction champion, the organisation ran a total of 16 sessions which helped over 360 residents from Melksham, Purton and surrounding areas to better understand how they could 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.

The minister initially wrote to the team to thank them for their efforts and went on to join them for a morning at Melksham Library to see first-hand the positive impact the programme was having.

She said of her visit, “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.”

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Julian Barlow, chair of WWCE, said: “I’m all too aware of the impact of the energy crisis on the more vulnerable members of our community in Wiltshire, which is why I was so pleased that our community energy group was able to play its part in supporting them over what proved to be a challenging winter.

"To have our efforts recognised by Community Energy England with this award nomination is fantastic and serves to reinforce our commitment to developing our Keeping Warm This Winter initiative further, offering practical help and advice to even more of those in need this year and beyond.”

Winners of the Community Energy England Awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Lowry Theatre in Manchester on Friday, November 17.


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Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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