In Impact Stories, Life skills, education & employability, Aylesbury Vale

Project: Energy Envoys – a youth volunteering scheme relating to energy and sustainability
Grant: £3,610
Fund: #iwill

Energy Envoys is a volunteering opportunity for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) participants aged 14-24. Participants complete a training course in energy and sustainability, before setting up an energy project to help and engage their community. They gain vital life skills, leadership experience and insights into further study and career opportunities.

The scheme aims to educates young people and empower them to set up their own energy project to help their community. An online Energy Tutorial gives them the required background knowledge, and step-by-step guides are provided to help them set up a project. Although the guides suggest everything they need to do week-by-week, participants are encouraged to use their own ideas and adapt the guides to meet their own needs.

Delivering their own project requires participants to use their initiative and overcome challenges, but with the support of a mentor from the National Energy Foundation. Participants track their progress from day one, keeping an activity log, recording the number of people engaged and collecting photos, videos and other materials to demonstrate achievements. ‘Reflection weeks’ are built in to allow time to reflect on what went well and what they could have done differently, and the last week is spent reviewing their project and achievements.

Participants will continue to provide informal energy advice to friends, neighbours and family members beyond the life of their project, whilst also having the capacity to make informed energy decisions in their own lives and potentially to consider energy-related career opportunities.

One volunteer commented how she found Energy Envoys “a lot more enjoyable and more purposeful than most other volunteering options”.

Case study

Karys completed a three-month energy awareness campaign for her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award volunteering section. Her campaign was called ‘Saving Energy’ and involved researching different ways of saving energy and water and placing visually appealing posters around her school. Karys then waited two weeks and sent out surveys to about 20 people asking them what effect the posters had on them, and if they made any changes following the posters’ advice. Karys’s biggest achievement was the knowledge that she gained and hopefully shared with a lot of people.