Power to people at Burghead drop-in day
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NEARLY 200 people turned out to learn more about their energy options in Burghead at the weekend.
An energy drop-in day was organised in response to local concern about energy bills and usage, and climate change, highlighted in a recent heating survey.
Burghead, Cummingston and Hopeman are off the gas grid – so residents have no option but to use expensive oil and electricity to heat their homes.
Advisors were on hand at the event on January 25, at Burghead Community Hall, from Keith-based REAP Scotland, community development organisation Rural Wisdom, tsiMoray, AES Solar, Plumbing and Renewables, Moray Car Share, and Home Energy Scotland.
Moray SNP MSP Richard Lochhead and SNP Councillor Louise Laing (Speyside Glenlivet) were among the crowd.
Attendees could access information on saving energy and money, switching suppliers, affordable renewable energy such as solar and air source heat pumps, and electric transport.
A pop-up cafe, run by the community hall's fundraising committee, served up breakfasts throughout the morning.
Fi Thomson, community worker at Rural Wisdom, said: "The Burghead and Cummingston Community Council, alongside Rural Wisdom, have been asking the Moray coastal communities how difficult it is to heat their homes.
"We had a great response from the heating survey we put out earlier in the month and so this was a very busy event that shows this is an issue on people's minds."
Mrs Thomson added: "With the growing concern with climate change and the need to move over to renewable energy, this was a timely event.
"This emerged as a problem after a meeting in Burghead – looking into renewable alternative energy – was informed that many were struggling to keep warm and asked what could be done about it."
Mrs Thomson said: "The feedback was that this was really useful event and that heating bills were on people's minds.
"It was great to see Richard Lochhead MSP and Moray Councillor Louise Laing at the event and they were very interested."
The community council took the opportunity to ask people their views on other local issues – like transport – which could be improved to help the communities thrive.
The community council said: "It was very good to see so many children and young people there too, and they, and everyone else, were engaged with the energy advisors and with using the sticky stars to say what was important to them. There were also excellent new ideas about what could be done.
"We can see that energy bills are very important – as is the lack of transport."