National Energy Action (NEA)

Stig of the Damp

A play on words from the popular TV series of the 1980s, the title for this project has come about by comparisons of STIG as a young person having to resort to living in a cold, damp and forgotten habitat, left behind the times without the basics of comfort and warmth; and our young students today living in sprawling, energy inefficient, homes that they cannot afford to heat. Young students today find themselves with spiralling debt, living in rented accommodation, unable to pay for fuel and without access to energy efficiency grants and schemes because students are not categorised as ‘vulnerable’ despite their clear vulnerability.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (290511)

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    Category

  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief

    Helping

  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther

Location

Situation

This proposal is based on initial discussions that have taken place between Leicester Student Union and Denise Howell, Training and Partnership Development Manager at NEA. These discussions identified that ‘students’ require energy awareness training and advice with regards to domestic energy efficiency, climate change, landlord responsibilities, grants for young parents with children and ‘where to go for help and advice with fuel bills’. NEA proposes to deliver tailored half-day information sessions to university and college students covering the topics outlined above. This type of short informative training is not available to students through any other media. It is not the type of training that universities sponsor because it is not directly linked to the students’ remit of study and they are not usually classed as a ‘vulnerable’ group qualifying for any assistance. This is in despite of them living in some of the worst housing in the country. Students are not deemed to require any assistance as they ‘are only in temporary accommodation’. Yet most students live in this ‘temporary accommodation’ for many years (4+), most are on low-incomes and most pay for fuel through pre-payment meters, opting to self-disconnect when their meagre student loans are insufficient to cover the high (and rising) cost of fuel supply. Some students have young children of their own and rely heavily on student loans to try to cover day-to-day living costs, often having to make the choice between eating a meal or putting money into the meter to try to keep, often large, houses warm during winter. Information on how to save money through ‘behavioural change’, is therefore crucial. NEA’s ‘Your move pack’ would be used as handouts for the training, and the training would be promoted nationally through mail-outs to all student unions both at colleges and universities. This is a flexible proposal and NEA would be keen to discuss options with potential supporter interested in this outline proposal. Funding of £24,520 + VAT is required to deliver 20 sessions during 2008-2009. The number of courses could be scaled down to fit within the funders budget.

Solution