That’s it, our project is over. Just Energy, a project supported by the ESRC, has lasted from autumn 2017 until now. We have travelled and spoke to amazing people in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria. We met people passionate about their work, passionate about human relationships, and passionate about linking social justice with energy issues. We also met people who have to choose between eating and heating every day, for example; or those who live in totally substandard housing. We would particularly like to thank these people for opening their doors to us and sharing a glimpse of their everyday reality. It is to them that we dedicate this toolkit we have created: “How to become an ally to overcome vulnerability”.
This toolkit is not an exhaustive document. It is not, nor does it replace, specific training on vulnerability issues. It is there to encourage a discussion. To remind everyone in an organisation, such as an energy ombuds or an energy service provider, that not everyone has the same level of opportunity. But that everyone, in their own way, can do something to make their services more relevant to everyone’s needs and perhaps make the world a better place.
We concluded our Just Energy project with a meeting with Lindsey Poole (Advice Service Alliances), Marta Garcia Paris (Ecoserveis) and Dr Elizabeth Blakelock (Ofgem), all of whom are experts on vulnerability issues and all of whom are as excited as we are to share and encourage businesses to do their best to address vulnerability. You can watch the recording here.
What we will remember is that vulnerability is not something obvious. It is systemic. It is often hidden. It is reflected in many different situations, and in all cases, it does not have to be destiny. Vulnerability can be overcome by working together, by showing solidarity, by complementing each other. It is the people who are suffering from it, who are affected by it, who are the experts. We need to listen to them to find the solutions.
As we will have seen in our research project, and in particular in our book, most people who need access to justice do not know where to start. They have other problems. They have to navigate complex systems, and so they need allies at all levels to help them get through it.
We wish you a good read. We hope that this toolkit will travel around the world. Please let us know if you want to translate it into your language. It will be an honour for us to share it beyond our project!
Thanks to you.
The Just Energy Team
PS: don’t forget to listen to the episode of Energ’Ethic about the project!