Over recent months we have been able to build capacity around member and stakeholder engagement, driven by Shannon Jackson, our new Networks & Learning Coordinator. A key part of Shannon’s role, which is funded by BEIS and MCS Charitable Foundation, is to broaden our network, contribute to regional development of community energy activity, and widen access to our national networks, resources, events and tools, for key stakeholder groups, with a particular focus on the North of England but also including the other Net Zero Hub regions.
Shannon has been working with stakeholders and partners such as Northern Powergrid, the Net Zero Hubs and Community Energy South’s Pathways programme to support development of a regional approach in the North of England, as well as increasing engagement nationally. Shannon led an initiative, in collaboration with these partners, to bring a range of new members into our network. In total this added 31 new members during this period, which is a notable achievement. All have been offered a year of free membership and those eligible will step up to paid membership after one year.
Some of these new members are community groups and other grassroots organisations beginning their community energy journeys. The cohort also includes housing associations, parish and town councils, schools and universities, and church networks. This is an exciting range of new members and demonstrates the variety and vibrancy of organisations keen to work on and support community energy in their local areas.
Shannon’s role has also given CEE more capacity to innovate in new ways and we are actively developing our member engagement. We will trial a discussion area for novice community energy groups on our practitioner forum (Loomio) and are investigating ways to create a broader discussion forum for all members, since Loomio is only open to community members.
Later this month, Shannon will begin hosting member-only open calls once a month, to introduce new members to CEE’s activities and resources, as well as give members an opportunity to share feedback, ask questions and meet others who may be able to help and share expertise from their experience with community energy.
We encourage existing members, from novices to experts, to connect with new members through these new channels, and you can find a full list of all our members here. Many of the new cohort are new to community energy and are seeking a diverse range of partnerships to help them deliver their ambitions.
We have also recently launched a new national map for the sector, which aims to help connect more people and projects. This new interactive tool, which will continue to improve and evolve over coming months, represents the most comprehensive dataset of community energy groups, projects and locations that we know to exist nationally and offers a visual representation of the sector’s impact. It also allows local authorities, MPs and others to easily locate community energy organisations and projects within their constituencies and regions.
The sector’s response to the national map has been a positive one and many see it as a big step forward to encourage more people to get involved in community energy and be inspired by what others are doing. If you would like to make your work visible on the map, you can sign up to our "Get on the Map" campaign, and you can help us improve the map by reporting any errors to Shannon.
Membership is the heart of CEE and these new initiatives build on our longstanding openness to member feedback and ideas. If you are a CEE member and would like to share your thoughts on how best we can support your organisation and the broader community energy sector in the future, please complete our survey. We'd love to hear from you.
If you are reading this and not yet a member of CEE, you can find out more about membership and apply here. Join us and be part of a vibrant, growing network having a clear positive impact on climate change, community resilience and the future energy system.
Full list of cohort of new members:
Summerbridge Methodist Church
Kirkheaton Environment Trust
Nidderdale Community Energy Cooperative
Thwing & Octon Parish Council
South Milford Parish Council
Warkworth Harbour Commissioners
Chapeltown Housing Cooperative
Draughton Parish Council
Tadcastger and Rural CIC Ltd
University of Huddersfield (Kirklees Climate)
Fishers Arms Community Pub Buyout
1st Saltburn Scout Group
CLR UK CIC
Norham Development Trust
Felton CAN - Climate and Nature
Middlesbrough Environment City
The Foundry Mountaineering Club, Sheffield
Clive Brook Planning (All Saints Church, Ilkley)
Todmorden Learning Centre
Circular Malton & Norton CIC
Towards Carbon Neutral Churches in Craven
Armthorpe Shaw Wood Academy
Wilsford Community Land Trust
Yorkshire North & East Methodist District
Thorner Victory Hall
Community Action Northumberland