Early beneficiaries of Birmingham Energy Savers' (BES) activities gave testimony of the positive impact the innovative scheme is having on their lives at its official launch event at The Council House, Birmingham recently.
Local people helped out of long-term unemployment, residents that are now enjoying warmer homes plus lower energy bills joined representatives of Birmingham City Council, who originated the scheme, and its delivery partner Carillion Services at the well-attended event.
"This scheme is a win-win," the words of satisfied customer Beryl Robinson, captured the celebratory mood of the event which was also attended by representatives from a range of community/ conservation groups. The 63 year old retiree spoke glowingly of the differences made to her Sheldon home by the installation of a range of energy efficient measures, included internal and external wall insulation.
Customer Service Assistant Karen Keeley (pictured right), also took the floor alongside fellow new employee Jonathan McBean, to share the difference BES has already made to their lives.
He said: "I have been out of work for a while and I had applied for many roles without success. Sometimes the jobs did not turn out to be what they were advertised to be, but this one is, and I am really enjoying it. I am pleased to be back working again, especially in a job that is part of something that's so positive for Birmingham."
BES aims to stimulate the saving of money, energy and carbon across schools, businesses and up to 60,000 City households and help 26,000 homes out of fuel poverty.
It is the first example of a local authority delivering the Government's Green Deal, through which the cost of carrying energy efficient measures will be recovered in installments via the occupants'/ owners' energy suppliers. Local residents - tenants and owner/ occupiers - as well as businesses are being urged to sign up for an assessment to discover whether their home or office is eligible for a range of measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce their bills.
BES' Account Director Chris Hall, says "We have committed to create and sustain at least 360 jobs in the area and to help 600 people from priority groups into placements, training and work, many through our own investment and skills training but also by encouraging our business partners to invest locally in a range of new green energy facilities".
Potential employees have been engaged through a dedicated recruitment programme and a series of businesses and community organizations have been engaged to help publicise BES amongst those most likely to benefit from its offerings. By the launch date, 36 people had been recruited directly, 20 of whom were unemployed and nine were in jobs at risk.
Chris continues: "Before we officially launched we received over 1150 calls to our call centre and completed over 200 energy assessments, with a further 200 assessments booked. This shows how much interest there is in BES across the city. Through it, we have a wonderful opportunity to achieve great things for Birmingham."