Community Energy-2

'Energy cafe’ brings residents together to tackle carbon emissions

Forest of Dean District Council and partners including the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) are working with Forest Community Energy (FCE) volunteers to help people access support to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.

Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency, Cllr Chris McFarling said:

“It was fantastic that there were so many interested residents at our recent Sling ‘Energy Cafe’ event, gaining new information and meeting others interested in this topic.

“The interest in the project has been brilliant to see and the Forest Community Energy can truly help to provide a local solution to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, whilst achieving our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

“Forest Community Energy is about coming together as residents and as a community to tackle the climate and cost of living crisis, with residents working alongside members of the Council and partners to make a real difference. It also gives people the support and information needed to help reduce their own energy consumption and household bills, whilst having the chance to socialise with others in the community.

“We’re really excited about the future of Forest Community Energy. If you’re interested in joining the group as a volunteer, or have any questions or comments please reach out and get in contact.”

Forest of Dean District Council was successful in securing funding as part of the AURORA Project to support community decarbonisation and to set-up Forest Community Energy. 

The ‘Energy Café’ event was held at the Sling & District Recreation Club (Sling Club) on Wednesday 28th February 2024. The event was held at the same time as the club’s regular Community Café, ensuring that a large number of residents were able to be reached in a well-known and accessible community setting.

As well as a chance to socialise with others, key highlights of the event included:

  1. Information and advice: Through games, and conversations with FCE volunteers and local energy advice organisation Severn Wye Energy Agency, residents were able to learn about energy saving tips, services and grants available locally to support householders looking to make energy efficiency improvements.
  2. Thermal imaging cameras: Residents got to explore with thermal imaging cameras and see how this easy-to-use technology can be used to spot where heat is lost in the home and where to target low-cost home energy efficiency improvements (e.g. draught proofing). Residents also got to register their interest to take part in the free thermal imaging loaning scheme being organised by FCE and the Sling Club.
  3. Free raffle: Residents were able to join a free raffle to win energy saving prizes. There were three prizes that were given away: a slow cooker, an energy monitor and a remote-controlled plug socket – all prizes were aimed at supporting people to cut down their energy usage.

By speaking with FCE volunteers, residents also got to find out more about the group and what they are up to, including plans to launch a community share-offer to develop local community owned solar projects in the Forest of Dean.

Forest Community Energy volunteer and Sling & District Recreation Club Committee Member and Secretary, Sammy Betson said:

“The Energy Café was a great opportunity to promote our free thermal imaging camera loan service and support residents to get advice and information on local energy schemes and grants. I look forward to the next one!”.

Following this event, residents who signed up will get to borrow thermal imaging cameras for free to explore how heat is being lost in their homes and identify options for making their homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

Forest Community Energy will be organising more events like these in the future – the next Energy Café event will be at the Sling Club on Wednesday 27th March 10am to 12pm. 

For more information about FCE events and how you can get involved, sign up to the newsletter here:

Residents who are interested in joining Forest Community Energy as a volunteer can email: [email protected]

Contact Information

Forest of Dean Communications Team

[email protected]

Notes to editors

About Forest Community Energy:

Forest Community Energy is a community forum and group open to all, set up to reduce carbon, help people, and help the environment.  Supported by the AURORA Forest of Dean project, the group is focussing on community solar and energy awareness projects in the Forest of Dean.

About AURORA Forest of Dean:

AURORA Forest of Dean is a partnership between Forest of Dean District Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy (a Bristol based charity). The partnership is building a community owned solar installation on a local community asset and public building, launching an energy awareness and carbon footprint app, and running local events to get residents engaged in energy saving behaviours.

AURORA Forest of Dean is part of a wider network of similar projects across Europe.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036418.