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Fuel poverty and health – next lunch & learn in June

Come and hear Dr Mari Martiskainen from the University of Sussex speak about the ways we can help tackle fuel poverty in our communities, to help reduce the health problems this can cause.

fuel poverty

Book your place

The second lunch & learn session takes place on Wednesday 14th June, 12 to 1pm at Brighton General Hospital. Dr Mari Martiskainen will be talking about the health risks of fuel poverty, and the ways we can all benefit from looking at how to get the best from our energy use at home from new sources such as ‘energy cafe’s’.

Email hayleycarmichael@nhs.net to book your place.

She’ll also explore the ways we, as health professionals, can offer our patients in the community support to tackle fuel poverty, and in doing so help improve both patient health and wellbeing.

What is fuel poverty?

fuel povertyWhen we say fuel poverty, we mean people not being able to afford to use their energy supply for heating or cooking. This is a persistent problem in the UK. Fuel poverty has a big impact on health, especially in winter when the more vulnerable, such as the elderly, can die due to poorly heated homes.

Despite various government programmes addressing fuel poverty over the years, the problem has not gone away. In the light of this, new actors have emerged to address the issue. Community groups have for example run initiatives such as ‘energy cafés’ – typically staffed by volunteers who provide advice about energy bills and energy efficiency measures.

A community solution

About a dozen community groups in the UK, located in varying places, including town centre shops, community cafés and village greens, have run energy cafés. Community groups use a range of publicity and marketing tools to attract visitors. While energy cafés mainly cater for the needs of those who are fuel poor, they are open to everyone.

A role for healthcare professionals

Cooperation by community groups, health service and local authorities could enable community groups to better target energy cafés at the fuel poor. An efficient use of funds for fuel poverty alleviation could involve energy cafés acting as a connecting service that matches the client to the intervention that best meets their needs.

Who is Dr Mari Martiskainen?

Dr Mari Martiskainen is a Research Fellow at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED), SPRU, University of Sussex, UK. Mari is a social scientist with a specific interest in sustainability transitions, especially in relation to a transition to a low carbon energy system.

Mari’s research has included topics such as energy efficiency policies in buildings; innovation and engagement in community energy; social innovation in addressing fuel poverty; and the diffusion of microgeneration technologies. Her current research focuses on the role of intermediary organisations in low energy housing innovation.

Mari has worked with a range of stakeholders and partners, including not-for-profit organisations, businesses and consultants. She has experience from various communication channels, including conference presentations, social media, seminars and media interviews. You can also follow Mari on twitter: @martiskainen.