The Next Generation Community Energy Peer Mentoring programme is offering up to 40 community energy groups in England the chance to benefit from free expert support on a wide range of issues, from finance to public relations and from microgrids to renewable heat.
The programme is open to both new and established community energy groups, and will allow you to network with others in the sector, share your own experiences and learn something new to benefit your organisation.
Each group will be assigned an experienced community energy mentor, identified through a match-making process, who'll be responsible for coordinating and leading the sessions. Mentoring will focus on issues most important to the group., and mentors will oversee up to four mentees, grouped according to their needs and interests. Allowing groups to share experience and knowledge as a cohort will enhance the conversations and learning that takes place throughout the programme.
Up to four days of peer mentoring support will be given, with sessions taking place between June and November 2021. The pace, number and length of sessions will be flexible and led by the group. Due to Covid-19, mentoring support is likely to be limited to phone, video conferencing (via a platform such as Loomio) and email – at least for the time being – but this will not affect the quality of support.
Examples of topics that cohorts may focus on include:
technology – this would focus on a particular technology members would like to learn more about, such as wind, hydro or heat pumps, along with broader topics, such as low carbon transport or renewable heat if desired
innovative solutions – this might cover emerging technologies and innovative business models such as microgrids, energy storage, using smart energy data or grid flexibility services
engaging with people – focusing on topics such as fuel poverty, energy efficiency or retrofit, and/or general skills such as marketing and communications and raising community shares
business development and partnership working – centred around topics such as how to avoid burnout, funding and finance, working within legal and regulatory environments, and working in partnership with local authorities, schools and housing developers.
All these topics and more can be selected in the application form.
Who are the mentors?
If you have a preference for a particular mentor out of the 10 already selected, indicate this in your application with a brief explanation, and preferences will be taken into account, but can't be guaranteed:
Kayla Ente, Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative
Toby Costin, Crew Energy
Peter Capener, Bath & West Community Energy
Simon Tilley, Hockerton Housing Project
Jonathan Atkinson, Carbon Co-op
Will Cottrell, Brighton Energy Coop
Gill Fenna, Quantum Strategy & Technology Ltd
Richard Watson, Energise Sussex Coast
Michael Beech, RINA Tech UK Ltd
Ben Dodd, Green Fox Community Energy Co-operative.
The deadline for applications is May 4th, 2021 (this is an extension to the earlier deadline). Apply to become a mentee at next-generation.org.uk/peer-mentoring.