Did you know that £10,000 people died in the UK last year because they couldn’t afford to heat their home? We explored this issue at with students at Surrey Square, asking why 1/4 of families in the UK are forced to choose between heating and eating.
Students discussed the issue with a series of pictures as prompts. Google images throws up a huge range with the search term “fuel poverty”. Then we did a problem tree to examine the causes, consequences and potential solutions of fuel poverty. On the trunk of the tree we wrote “1/4 of UK families choose between heating and eating”. We were supported by Izzy Koksal from Fuel Poverty Action who spoke to the group about their work. Izzy invited the group to come to the launch of the Energy Bill of Rights in Parliament.
We looked at the language different groups had used on their problem trees. First they matched new vocabulary with definitions and then they used it in practice in a cloze exercise. Students then separated the causes, consequences and actions into groups.
Students took the actions from their trees and put them into an action matrix, a tool used for project planning that helps focus on what activity needs to be done, by whom and when. Following this, students did some reading activities based on flyers from Fuel Poverty Action. Students took flyers to distribute to their neighbours and friends. I then read an email from Izzy inviting them to the launch of the Energy Bill of Rights in Parliament during half-term. Five students signed up to come.
Action: Energy Bill of Right launched.
“You will be telling your grandchildren you were at this meeting”, said John McDonnell. Fortunately for EFA (four students, two staff and one child) we were there. We met at Surrey Square school and got the bus to Westminster. It took an age to pass through security and Dermot lost two pairs of scissors in the process. We heard from over 20 activists and community organisers on the impact of fuel poverty. The Energy bill of rights calls for affordable, green fuel for everyone and we should all persuade our MPs to sign up:. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/395.
You can read the Energy Bill of Rights and the work of Fuel Poverty Action here:
The group left inspired to take further action to combat the injustice that is fuel poverty.
In the following class we will reflect on the student’s experience of going to the event and to Parliament and write up the event. Then we will decide on what follow-up action the class will take.