Using community led social media hubs to connect householders struggling to cope with the cost of rising energy bills, to each other and local advice.

We think it’s crazy that some people in the UK have to choose between heating and eating, and a national scandal that 24,300 people die a year because they can’t afford to heat their homes. That's why we launched Fuelling Connections, an on-line community hub that pulls together local support, advice and information on saving money in the home, with the key focus on reducing the cost of energy.

Achieved so far

In 2014 we conducted 'Mapping the Reality’ research to understand the daily realities of people coping with the rising costy of energy, often referred to as people 'fuel poverty'. The outcomes of this and a local roundtable event with Caroline Flint MP, which gathered input from local services in the Don Valley area, identified the need for:

  • Broader communications. People struggling to hear their homes don’t identify themselves as being in ‘fuel poverty’, or see problems as being solely related to energy, but rather as part of a wider set of issues. Support and advice communicated to householders needs to reflect this.
  • More collaboration and consistent and cohesive advice and support for householders, helping to build long term trust.
  • An easy way to share best practice across communities and householders.
  • A way for people to make an easy first step towards seeking support.
  • A way to break down barriers and stigma associated with the issue if 'fuel poverty'.

The outcome was Fuelling Connections. A pilot was launched on Facebook in December 2015 and was trialled in three locations; Doncaster (Yorkshire), Poplar & Limehouse (London) and Truro & Falmouth (Cornwall). Each group was led by a local co-ordinator with a strong link to householders and existing services in the area, and was supported by local MP's; Caroline Flint MP, Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Sarah Newton MP.

Across four months, 1,300 householders joined the three groups and 90 local support groups collectively shared 700 posts with advice and tips on saving money in the home. The campaign was also picked up by national press including the BBC, ITV, The Independent and LBC news.

Supporting more households throughout 2017

Fuelling Connections is continuing in Doncaster (Yorkshire) and Poplar & Limehouse (London)Truro & Falmouth (Cornwall) has now expanded to include all six Cornish constituencies and four additional Fuelling Connections communities are being launched in Castle Point (Essex), Eddisbury (Cheshire), Penistone and Stocksbridge (Sheffield), and Norwich (Norfolk). Local co-ordinators in the areas will lead on the project and are supported by the local MP’s; Rebecca Harris, Antoinette Sandbach, Angela Smith, Clive Lewis.

Join the campaign

We're always on the hunt for local organisations, groups, individuals or businesses who would like to collaborate with us and replicate Fuelling Connections in their local community. If you would like to join us in supporting people struggling to cope with the cost of rising energy prices, please get in touch

Download the guide

Click on the image below to download the free PDF guide on how to set up and run your own Fuelling Connections community. 

Supporters

Hubbub would like to thank OVO Energy, Barts NHS Trust, People's Postcode Trust and Awards for All for their support to the three pilot projects. Thanks also to Calor, Awards for All, the Christopher Laing Foundation, and National Energy Action for their support to scale Fuelling Connections in 2017.