In late 2019, Time & Talents entered the M&S Energy Community Fund Competition, with the goal of raising enough money to install solar panels on the roof of our lovely Old Mortuary building in Rotherhithe, SE16. Run every year by Crowdfunder and M&S Energy, the idea is to get people across the country raising money for community-based green power projects, to cut energy costs and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Our goal was to raise enough funds to change all the lighting at the Old Mortuary to super-efficient LED bulbs, and to put 21 solar panels on our roof, turning our community centre into our very own, mini renewable-power station – and shrinking our yearly bills in the process!
We were over the moon to win the competition, and overwhelmed by the generous donations we received from 256 supporters, totalling a fantastic £11,516. This included a £1,000 Nature Save Trust grant. We benefited from free energy-saving advice from the Carbon Trust, who recommended solar and LEDs as the top energy-saving measures for us, in terms of value for money and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, which have such a destructive impact on the climate.
We installed the LEDs in spring 2020, and got our solar panels fitted in the autumn last year. Although we’ve only had the panels turning the sun’s beams into electricity for a year, they – along with the LEDs – are already saving T&T at least £1,300 in energy bills, and reducing our CO2 emissions by over a third, or six tonnes, per year. Even better, they should keep doing so for the next 20+ years.
This is truly a win-win situation, making us more environmentally sustainable while also minimising our energy costs. We then have more money to invest in the work we do in our local community, which is so crucial to reducing loneliness and isolation, and creating fun, friendship and mutual support.
We were very grateful to British Land and AKT II for providing a pro-bono roof survey to ensure that it was suitable for solar panels. We also very much appreciate the local businesses who donated rewards for our Crowdfunder supporters, to encourage more donations.