Local MP Sarah Newton met Karen Leach, Energy Wise Caseworker at Community Energy Plus for the National Energy Action Heat Heroes awards event in the House of Commons.
NEA is the national fuel poverty charity and the Heat Heroes Awards aim to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to helping people living in fuel poverty in their local community, either at work or in volunteer activities outside the workplace.
Karen was amongst seventeen winners from England and Wales. Karen has almost ten years’ experience of providing phone-based energy advice for Community Energy Plus and in the last three years Karen’s role has broadened significantly and she helped to shape and deliver CEPs in-Home Advice, Hand-holding and Advocacy services. This includes the Big Lottery Funded Energy Wise Project which she now works within as a caseworker. Karen is experienced at putting vulnerable clients at ease and works skilfully and tactfully through the issues that are contributing to each client’s energy issues. She also deploys the tenacious aspect of her character to good effect when resolving issues with service suppliers such as mis-sold heating systems, faulty heater installations and energy billing errors.
Commenting on Karen’s achievement, Sarah said, “I have supported the excellent work of CEP for many years, Karen is a brilliant member of a great team. Everyday CEP help people in Cornwall who are struggling to keep warm and well.
“Karen recently supported an elderly client with multiple health problems who had been door knocked and subsequently sold and air-to-air source heat pump which was unsuitable for his property and heating needs. With insufficient savings to pay the £5,000 total cost, he was paying the company monthly prior to the heating being installed. He contacted CEP as he was having second thoughts about the heating system. A home visit was provided and it was established that the client qualified for a grant for a first time central heating system through Cornwall Council’s Warm & Well project so Karen completed the application form with him which has been accepted. Karen contacted the heating company and used her negotiation skills to make the case for the vulnerable client to be given a full refund which was also successful.”