Nelly Misenga writes…

Our Diocesan Environment team and Together Southwark have teamed up with Citizens UK and its other partners to engage with churches in the above campaign. I hear ‘oh no! Not another campaign!’ Trust me. You want to know about this.

Fair Energy Switch Day campaign provides resources for churches to run a ‘Fair Energy Switch Day’, in which both churches and individuals can save money on their energy bills. That would be made possible by using an energy referral code when they switch, so that both the person switching and the church that has already switched each gets £50 off their heating bill, combatting fuel poverty at the same time as reducing carbon emissions. So every time a person switches, the church receives an additional £50.

This initiative can easily be integrated into existing projects as well.  For example, I have worked with a parishioner to set up Lunchbox Library, our supported holiday provision scheme, to reduce holiday hunger, social isolation and learning loss among children from mainly low-income families. The parishioner runs the project at a community centre a few minutes from their church. Most of the children who access the project come from working families, but the cost of living is so high that many are left into child poverty, after these costs are taken into account. That has brought us to integrate the distribution of food surplus from partner charities into the project at most of our hubs to offer families additional support. Hence, the Fair Energy Switch Day would be another step in the right direction. This could be an opportunity to integrate financial inclusion and resilience not only into Lunchbox Library but also other support projects run by churches across the Diocese for a longer-term impact on families, particularly in term of disposable income, by reducing their outgoings in energy bills.

Every time a household in a parish switches using the code of a participating church, the latter receives £50 more.  If the church cannot switch energy providers, they can sign up to the Octopus Energy’s People Power scheme. They will receive cash. Octopus recommends having a fundraising purpose, like raising money for youth activity in the church or for the roof fund. This encourages people to switch as they see it as a contribution.

The project is at pilot stage and so, we would like to involve a limited number of churches across the Diocese and church traditions. For further details and to get involved, contact [email protected] .