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ONS Release figures for Excess Winter Mortality

The Office for National Statistics has released figures for Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales, 2013/14 (Provisional) and 2012/13 (Final). Their statistical bulletin shows that an estimated 18,200 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2013/14 – the lowest number of excess winter deaths since records began in 1950/51. The statistical release is available here.

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A panel of experts is holding an online discussion on Tuesday 9 December from 2-3pm GMT to discuss how to help the rising number of households unable to afford to heat their home. More information on how you can join the debate is here. Questions can also be submitted in advance on Twitter using the hashtag #bigenergydebate or by using the form on the Guardian's website.

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#BigEnergySavingNetwork #BESN14

Are you using Social Media to promote your BESN work? If so, the following tips are taken from NEA's Communications resource and might be of use to you in planning your approach to promoting BESN work via social media.

Using Social Media

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, are becoming an increasingly popular way for organisations to communicate with their clients, stakeholders, and those they seek to influence. These platforms can be a useful addition to the tools in your communication arsenal provided that you understand how to use these effectively and get the best out of them.

Understanding the tools – the basics

The most popular social media platforms are:

Twitter - a social networking platform that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as ‘tweets’. For more information on operating Twitter see https://support.twitter.com/articles/215585-getting-started-with-twitter

Facebook – a site that allows users to create personal micro web-pages that they can share with other contacts (known as ‘friends’) on Facebook. Content can include images, videos and text. For more information on using Facebook see https://en-gb.facebook.com/business/overview

Linkedin – a social networking website for people in professional occupations and mainly used for professional networking. The site allows registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called connection. For more information on using Linkedin see https://help.linkedin.com/app/home

Blog – an ongoing diary/comment tool that allows agencies to communicate with supporters/members/interested parties on a more informal basis. For more information on writing blogs see http://resources.mediatrust.org/blogging/

If you aren’t familiar with the mechanics of these platforms then it would be wise to learn more about these tools and/or practice in a personal capacity before you begin creating your own content. Each site contains tutorials.

Top tips on getting the most out of social media

Understand the basics. Make sure that you understand how to post on each site, how to view others’ content, and how to ensure that your posts reach your key audience. The links above provide more information on each platform.

Know your audience. As with all communications tools you need to make sure that you use the technology most appropriate to your audience. Many organisations, journalists and decision-makers will use Twitter as their primary social media platform, but members of the public may be more likely to use Facebook or a combination of the two. Many people now use social media as their primary way of contacting organisations over other forms of communication such as telephone, email or post.

Know your limits. If your organisation has a social media policy then make sure that you read it and stick to any guidelines. If it doesn’t, then now may be the time to start thinking about developing one or, at the very least, ensure that content adheres to some of the following guidelines:

  • Reflects your organisation’s vision
  • Contributes to your organisation’s aims and objectives
  • Adheres to logo or branding guidelines
  • Is consistent with your key messages
  • Doesn’t include anything that may bring your organisation into disrepute, jeopardises relationships, or involves sharing of confidential or commercially sensitive information.

Note that guidelines may apply to you posting social media content using official usernames or in a personal capacity. Even if your staff policies don’t explicitly mention social media, its use may be covered in other codes of practice (such as acceptable use of IT, or codes of professional conduct).

Get organised: Pinpoint what you will post, when, and who will do it. Integrate this into your wider communications strategy. If you have separate staff with responsibility for posting on social media sites and press or other external communications make sure you all know what each of you is doing. Embarrassing things can happen when communications activity is not joined up!

Join the ‘conversation’: Don’t make it all about you. Support other organisations’ campaigns, respond to their messages, and keep it a two-way interaction.

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Useful communications resource

For Champions keen to promote your BESN work to the media and your stakeholders, you might find this new Communications guide of use.

NEA have produced a Communications resource for agencies working to tackle fuel poverty. The guide is available here and offers useful tips of planning a communications stratey; organising a successful event; writing for impact; writing a press release and attracting the media; using social media; and how to take photos for press purposes.

 

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SurveyMonkey Guidance & Monthly Summary for November

We’re really pleased to hear that your projects are getting well underway. Please remember that you can share details about your BESN activities, events, queries, challenges and achievements here on the Ning website which all Champions and Volunteers have access to.

SurveyMonkey Guidance

• As you know, each Champion-led project is required to complete a Monthly Summary of their BESN activity undertaken in the last calendar month. Each submission should therefore only record information relating to an individual Champion and their BESN project. Please do not submit information for multiple Champions on the same monthly report as this prevents us from differentiating between projects.

• Even if your BESN activity has been minimal, we do still require a Monthly Summary from every Champion. For example, you could summarise your future plans for taking the project forward.

• Please remember that once your Survey has been completed you cannot access the data contained within it, so do ensure that you keep a separate written record of the information for your own purposes.

• The Survey is designed to be completed in one sitting so you will not be able to re-enter it afterwards. You can move between the pages whilst in the Survey, but once you click 'Done', your entry will be submitted.

• If you experience any difficulty in completing the Survey, please contact BESN@decc.gsi.gov.uk and include your name, organisation and BESN Reference number so we can easily identify you.

Monthly Summary for November

The deadline for Champions to submit your Monthly Summary for November is Friday 28 November. Please use the same link to access SurveyMonkey to submit your Report: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BESN2014-15

 

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Welcome to all new members!

Welcome to all new members! We hope you like the BESN site and find it a useful resource. Please add your BESN photos and upload information about your events to the relevant sections - we're keen to hear what everyone is up to!

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Information for consumers

Have you seen Ofgem's website featuring lots of handy information for consumers? Take a look here for guidance on the Winter Fuel Payment; Warm Home Discount Scheme; energy saving measures; the ECO scheme; Nest; the Energy Assistance Programme; the Priority Service Register; debt and disconnection; and the Home Heat Helpline.

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BESN Support Sessions - please respond

As you may know, DECC and NEA will be offering three Support Sessions for BESN Champions.

The Support Sessions are intended to provide Champions with an opportunity to ask questions, share information and engage with other members of the Network. The sessions are open to all Network Champions, and whilst they are not a mandatory part of the BESN programme, both DECC and NEA would urge Champions to attend. Based on the geographic spread of BESN activity, the sessions are proposed to take place at:

• Manchester, 20 November
• Birmingham, 25 November
• London, 26 November

Feedback from these sessions last year was very positive with Champions commenting that being able to “clarify issues allowed for a more successful delivery of the project” and that “the opportunity to meet with other Champions” was useful and reassuring.

Please register your attendance: to express your interest in attending one of the Support Sessions, please email lynsey.thompson@nea.org.uk with your preferred location by the 7 November.

You can help shape the agenda: the format and agenda for the support sessions is currently being developed and further details will be circulated to the Network soon. These sessions are designed to offer Champions support and guidance on the issues which are of most relevance to you and the delivery of your BESN work. If there are areas you would like to see covered in the sessions please send your ideas and suggestions by the 7 November to BESN@decc.gsi.gov.uk. The BESN Team will be attending these sessions.

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Welcome!

The BESN Team would like to welcome all new members to the Ning site! Thanks for signing up and please do start sharing your events, ideas and advice for other Network members to see!

Do let us know if you have any suggestions on how the site can be improved.

Thanks :-)

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Advance Notice: BESN Support Sessions

DECC and NEA will be offering three Support Sessions for BESN Champions.


The Support Sessions are intended to provide Champions with an opportunity to ask questions, share information and engage with other members of the Network. The sessions are open to all Network Champions, and whilst they are not a mandatory part of the BESN programme, both DECC and NEA would urge Champions to attend. Based on the geographic spread of BESN activity, the sessions are proposed to take place at:


• Manchester, 20 November
• Birmingham, 25 November
• London, 26 November


Feedback from these sessions last year was very positive with Champions commenting that being able to “clarify issues allowed for a more successful delivery of the project” and that “the opportunity to meet with other Champions” was useful and reassuring.

Register your interest: to express your interest in attending one of the Support Sessions, please email lynsey.thompson@nea.org.uk with your preferred location by 7 November.


You can help shape the agenda: the format and agenda for the support sessions is currently being developed and further details will be circulated to the Network soon. These sessions are designed to offer Champions support and guidance on the issues which are of most relevance to you and the delivery of your BESN work. If there are areas you would like to see covered in the sessions please send your ideas and suggestions by the 7 November to BESN@decc.gsi.gov.uk. DECC will be attending these sessions.

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Age UK is calling on knitting enthusiasts to support its campaign for warm homes to help older people stay warm and well in the winter. Knitters across the country are being asked to create their own cosy knitted warm houses, which will be exhibited by local Age UKs during Cold Homes Week (2-6 February 2015). During this week of action, policy makers from the community will be invited to see the knitted houses and discuss the urgent need for warm homes. The Charity is also offering a prize for the best knitted home. For more details, visit the Spread The Warmth website.

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CARBON MONOXIDE AWARENESS WEEK

The 9th Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will run from Monday 17th November to Sunday 23rd November 2014. The aim of the week is to warn those living/working in the UK that:
• Carbon Monoxide is produced by the "incomplete combustion" of ANY hydrocarbon fuel coal, charcoal, wood, biomass, oil, petrol, diesel, natural gas and LPG.
• The need to get all their fuel burning appliances serviced and their chimney swept every year.
• Letting tenants know what their landlords should do to protect them.

For more information visit the Carbon Monoxide Awareness website.

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THE ENERGY NETWORK - HOW IT WORKS FOR YOU

Ofgem has published a new animated video, infographics and webpage aimed at consumers which explains energy networks and Ofgem’s role. They hope that this will help add transparency to this area and give consumers a simple explanation of what can be a complex topic. Further information can be found here

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Vampire Energy 24 - 31 October 2014
In the run up to Halloween, DECC are organising a fun mini-campaign to make people aware of the energy vampires in their home – chargers plugged into the wall, TV's on standby and incorrect settings on products that suck energy.

The campaign will be supported by two vines (see our Vine channel on the day) and the Infographic seen here.

How you can get involved:
• Retweet @deccgovuk tweets
• Reshare the facebook content on your facebook page and other channels
• Share the infographics and add your own spooky twist to the tale #vampireenergy

 

 

 

 

 

Switch for bigger daylight savings – 26 October 2014
DECC want to help people take advantage of their extra hour on Sunday 26 October when the clocks go back to switch and save money. Households can save up to £200 the first time they switch. DECC will be tweeting some tips on the day and it would be great if BESN members wish to show their support or get involved through social media. You could reshare the @deccgovuk tweets and the facebook content on your facebook page.

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Keep Warm This Winter

DECC have produced a booklet for householders and consumers explaining how they can take action to lower their energy bills and have a warmer home. The resource provides practical information on:


• managing bills
• financial assistance
• help and advice on saving energy
• installing energy efficiency measures


Copies of the guide can be downloaded from here

If you’re on social media, you can find out more on www.facebook.com/warmthiswinter or Tweet using #KeepWarmThisWinter.

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