It was Saturday the 19th August, 2 days before the solar eclipse but down in Brixton a different type of solar event was occurring.
Residents of the Loughborough Estate, home of Brixton Energy Solar projects 1 and 2 were invited to participate in deciding how to spend the money accrued in the community fund since 2012, when solar panels on Elmore House and the 5 blocks of Styles Gardens went live!
Armed with energy efficiency surveys, energy saving LED lightbulbs and a solar powered sound system the Brixton Energy team brought the sunshine on a day where the sun couldn’t make up its mind whether to come out or not. The residents of Loughborough, however, did come out!
Nearly 70 people shared their ideas and voted on what they wanted to see the £10,000 invested on in the community. The ideas focussed on activities for young people and the elderly including aspirations for an outdoor gym. More than 30 surveys were completed with residents receiving free goodie-bags all amidst a rainbow of music, drumming, food and dancing.
The completed energy surveys combined with the results of door knocking over the past few months will help us understand and analyse how much money is spent on energy bills in the community. The aim is to tackle fuel poverty on the estate by helping residents, who may be in need, to save money and live in warm dry homes. We will be following up with residents offering free home energy audits, installing energy savings measures and providing one to one advice on switching providers.
As the BBQ was heating up, there was more reason to be cheerful with the presentation of the AQA Certificates to the Brixton Energy internship 2017 cohort. If you have been tracking the Brixton Energy blog you will have seen the progress the young people have been making over the past few months as they soldered, surveyed and spoke their way to the completion of the course. Homegrown Brixton musician MC Fizzy of Music Changes Moods presented the certificates in front of the solar panel array and though the young people were definitely shy in front of the crowd, you could tell they were pleased with what they had achieved.
As the day went on and bellies were filled acarnival atmosphere came about, with tunes from across the globe being spun and generations mixing and bonding over music and food.
All in all, it was a good day which strengthened the already tight resolve between Brixton Energy, the Loughborough Estate Management team and, of course, the residents.
There will be more to come after this event in terms of home energy audits, as well acting on the votes made for the community fund spending. Keep your ear to the ground to find out what next steps will be made.