The Federation of Open Home Networks

Context

In February 2013 DECC put out an invitation to tender which targeted the emergence of 16 new green open home networks in new locations around the UK. A funded programme of work followed, successfully managed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), which culminated in an impressive series of open home events across England in 2014 and 2015 - all listed at www.greenopenhomesnetwork.net.

Public access to free green open home events was therefore greatly enhanced in 2014, and emphasis was correctly put on encouraging new groups, which has resulted in a number of new open homes schemes. However, long term sources of funding will be required which enable these new schemes, as well as the many existing open homes schemes which were not the target of the DECC programme, to continue into the future.

Supported by the Climate Change Collaboration (CCC), The Federation of Open Home Networks has been meeting since September 2013 to seek ways to secure long term, sustainable sources of funding for open homes schemes in the UK. Crucially, in the first 12 months of CCC funded activity, the Federation succeeded in raising a further £45,000. £37,500 of this has now been granted to green open home groups running events, in partnership with CSE.

Members have already also collaborated to produce a major report on the impact of Green Open Homes activity and have swapped success stories on raising sponsorship at a local level.

Often local open home scheme leaders work tirelessly to secure local grants and business sponsorship to cover the costs of open days. However, the time and effort required to raise what are often quite small sums of money can be exhausting. The idea of a Federation of Open Home Networks, which can attract national larger scale funds and sponsors, has therefore attracted a great deal of interest.

Benefits of Federation

The Federation will:

  1. Attract large scale national sponsorship for members through a national federation;
  2. Represent its members in a democratic manner;
  3. Negotiate with potential funding partners to secure the best deals;
  4. Provide an easy single point of contact for potential national funders and sponsors;
  5. Ensure that the voices of the Open Homes providers are properly taken into account.

Rising to the challenge

Over 25 groups representing a total of more than 1000 homeowners have already joined The Federation. Any group that has run a successful green open homes event and is seeking funds to support another one is welcome to join the Federation..

The Federation already represents a critical mass of 1000 homes, which we believe puts us in a stronger position to attract the following sources of funding on behalf of members:

We think a national sponsor would have much to gain by partnering us as a collective. We can also see several clear avenues towards further grant funding. So far this is related to a) protecting older homes and therefore, our heritage, by making them fit for the 21st Century (the National Trust is a member) and b) research into householder satisfaction with low carbon home improvement measures and their performance over time in given geographical environments. Lead generation and similar advertising income also becomes a possibility through the Federation. For example, Green Deal providers want to attract leads, but only in the specific parts of the country in which they operate. The more local groups join the Federation, the greater the possibility that provider’s needs could be catered for.

Current Members

Aims of the Federation

The aims of the Federation are to:

  1. Increase the number and usage of Open Homes so as to encourage the widest number of people to take action to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of their existing homes;
  2. Provide a sustainable framework of funding so that the Open Homes networks can flourish in the future;
  3. Attract large scale national sponsorship and grant funding;
  4. Negotiate with potential funding partners to secure the best deals;
  5. Represent and support its members in a democratic manner;
  6. Collate and enable monitoring and evaluation of energy saving techniques and homeowner attitudes in practice in existing housing;
  7. Encourage and support residents to monitor their fuel savings;
  8. Act as a research resource for evaluating energy saving techniques over time;
  9. Protect our national heritage by showing how older homes can be made fit for the 21st Century;
  10. Ensure that the voices of the Open Homes providers are properly taken into account.

Contact.

To get in touch with the Federation, or find out how you could become involved, please contact Gordon Glass at the Secretariat:

T: Gordon Glass on 01908 256922
E: info@foohns.org.uk
W: www.foohns.org.uk