As COVID-19 leads to more and more significant changes to the way we live and work, as well as affecting the health and wellbeing of those within and outside the community energy sector, we are working hard to support our members and the sector as a whole. Lives and livelihoods are being disrupted with many people involved in community energy working from home, balancing with with childcare and other caring responsibilities, and getting involved in community responses to the pandemic while also trying to ensure their community energy organisations are meeting legal and regulatory requirements, looking after staff and volunteers, and continuing the valuable work they do in communities. We have gathered resources covering these and other areas with the intention of helping members and others in the sector find the information, tools and ideas they need to perservere through this unprecedented situation.

As the membership body for community energy in England and the voice of the sector, we are paying close attention to how the sector is being affected by the current circumstances and working hard to gather evidence, make representations to the government and regulators and speak up about the sector's challenges, for example over installations halted due to the lockdown; our advocacy efforts were central in securing an extension for affected FiTs projects. We also have an eye on the future and will be thinking hard about how community energy can regroup and forge a new path once the extent of the crisis is known and the country begins to move out of the peak of the crisis.

If you have any sector-specific issues you need our support with, resources to share or would like to tell us about how your community energy organisation is responding to COVID-19, please contact us at info@communityenergyengland.org. We also encourage our practitioner members to make use of our online practitioner-only discussion forum to connect with others in the sector; please request to join here.

Governance resources

  • Co-operatives UK have produced HR and governance advice pages with guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, including how to deal with AGMs

Business & enterprise resources

  • School for Social Entrepreneurs has gathered lots of advice on how small and social enterprises can prepare for COVID-19
  • NCVO have also prepared lots of advice for organisations in the social sector
  • Power to Change and Locality ran a webinar on managing your community business during the COVID-19 crisis
  • Plunkett Foundation has a community business COVID-19 business continuity planning tool and has collected other resources for community businesses 
  • CIPD has a range of free resources including template policies, letters and a checklist, to assist organisations with their response COVID-19
  • The Information Commissioner's Office has a hub for data protection and coronavirus information for community groups
  • Good Finance has a hub for social enterprises during COVID-19
  • ACAS has a page of COVID-19 advice for employers and employees
  • The Institute of Leadership & Management is delivering a series of free daily webinars, helping you to learn and develop your leadership capability wherever you are

Funding & support resources

  • Co-operatives UK also have a page explaining government support for businesses and you can watch their recorded webinar on support available for co-ops
  • The Government has its own page detailing their support for businesses
  • haysmacintyre has a page on the range of financial, tax and accounting measures to support businesses
  • Crowdfunder is offering 100% free fundraising for your business during the coronavirus crisis
  • The Coronavirus Charity Help Fund is open for small organisations working on specific coronavirus poverty relief projects. This could be relevant to community energy organisations undertaking work on energy efficiency, fuel poverty and issues associated with the cost of energy bills linked to coronavirus
  • For more coronavirus emergency funding opportunities, please visit out funding page

Community energy responses

  • Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative have collated information on energy supplier responses for prepayment meter customers
  • Point and Sandwick Trust, owners of the  UK's largest community-owned wind farm, has announced immediate plans to use the funding it generates to support the coronavirus pandemic response on the Scottish Western Isles
  • Carbon Co-op is launching a free, weekly webinar series covering all aspects of home energy
  • Our Policy & Advocacy Manager, Duncan, has produced a home energy efficiency briefing which we encourage members to adopt, adapt and disseminate through their networks and mutual aid channels
  • The UK government has agreed measures with the energy industry to support vulnerable people through COVID-19; community energy organisations are likely to be in the best position to publicise this and reach out through social media and other means to help vulnerable people access this support

Energy industry updates

  • Ofgem's COVID-19 page is where they will publish regulatory updates
  • Citizens Advice have published a guidance document for energy suppliers and vulnerable customers that may be useful for community energy organisations engaging with such consumers in their communities
  • The Energy Networks Association has a page for COVID-19 updates from energy network companies

Working from home & wellbeing resources

  • OWL Labs have made an extensive working from home readiness checklist
  • The Climate Coalition shared advice for facilitating online meetings and training
  • Mental Health Foundation have advice on looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
  • Oxfordshire Mind have advice on taking care of your mental health and wellbeing, especially coping with anxiety and dealing with self-isolation and home-working
  • An experienced home worker has written about realistic expectations when working at home with children
  • Hannah Massarella, founder of the charity Bird, has written about what we can do to fight fear

Community resources

  • CAG Oxfordshire have put together a shared document to support community groups with their response to the pandemic
  • Community energy organisations wanting to engage with community support can find their local COVID-19 mutual aid groups here
  • Alongside use of social media there are apps (e.g. https://nextdoor.co.uk/) that you can use to engage with your local community and encourage others to support vulnerable people in your local area