Social enterprise with NEA and VONNE: Using the global crisis to catalyse social innovation.
How might we start on the pathway to decarbonise homes and improve wellbeing in the communities of Tees Valley, using the current energy and climate crises as a catalyst to tackle fuel poverty which is fair and just?
Tees Valley Business Challenge connects large organisations who have pressing challenges with small businesses and social enterprises who have innovative solutions. These solution developers are then helped through advice, grant funding and new contacts to build, test and commercialise their ideas. We are specifically looking to work with small and medium-sized organisations (for-profit businesses and social enterprises) based in the Tees Valley.
National Energy Action (NEA) began almost 40 years ago when students at Durham University established a group of volunteers to install loft insulation in the homes of elderly local people. Their experiences led them to realise there was a huge problem with people living in cold and unhealthy homes, suffering from fuel poverty. Subsequently, working with Newcastle City Council, this project was replicated on a wider scale by putting together different funding streams to develop community insulation projects. On 18 May 1981, Neighbourhood Energy Action was formally launched as a development programme of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Since then Neighbourhood Energy Action has evolved into National Energy Action (NEA), based in North East England and employing over 70 staff across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our actions have brought real social change, enabling millions of people to access grants and assistance to help them live in a warm home. Our campaigning work has also ensured that fuel poverty is now firmly on the public policy agenda.
Working with VONNE, the membership and networking organisation for the voluntary sector in the North East, we have identified a challenge shared by NEA where there are opportunities for innovative local businesses to get involved.
We are looking for products and services that will start the pathway to decarbonised homes and improve wellbeing in the communities of Tees Valley, using the current energy and climate crises as a catalyst to tackle fuel poverty in a way which is fair and just.
More details of the challenge will be provided at this event, as well as further information on how we are able to support innovative solution developers (including through significant funding).
The programme is being delivered by Edge Innovation in partnership with Tees Valley Business, the Local Growth Hub for the Tees Valley established by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Tees Valley Mayor, RTC North, AHSN, Dynamo, NEPIC, VONNE and Teesside University.
The programme is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.