Coventry City Council are developing proposals for several place-based approaches to retrofit, with the aim of significantly increasing uptake within a whole street & neighbourhood.
As a council, we are committed to increasing the uptake of residential retrofit and accelerating its growth within the city. The council are currently delivering several retrofit Programmes operating across the city but have identified engagement levels & behaviour change among residents as one barrier to further uptake. For this reason, we are developing proposals for several place-based approaches to retrofit, with the aim of significantly increasing uptake within a whole street & neighbourhood.
Since last year, we have been working alongside the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as part of the Government’s Sustainable Warmth Competition. This is to support approx. 150 homes in a specific area, in this case Foleshill, Coventry. To enable us to reach as many residents as possible, we have also worked in partnership with a local energy charity, Act on Energy. We have been able to build greater trust in our schemes, where the retrofit picture often gets confused with an array of information from different contractors and stakeholders. Learning from this scheme’s area-based approach will be used to inform future retrofit programmes, including our proposed Net Zero Neighbourhood Project.
The project takes a place-based approach to retrofit, engaging residents through local organisations and services , and encouraging them to take up retrofit opportunities. Working alongside WMCA and Act on Energy, the team have been active in the community, hosting engagement and information sessions, attending community events and having a presence on the ground by accessing residents, door to door.
We have also tried to include innovative approaches to behaviour change and resident engagement as part of the project. Working in partnership with the University of Warwick and local artists, the scheme engaged residents to co-create a promotional video for the project. This video, which is just over 1 minute long aims to create an innovative and creative way to engage with residents, aiming to increase uptake within one area. It also provides a fun and interactive way for residents to engage in the process and hoping to alleviate barriers to normal take up of the schemes. This is something we are keen to develop further, accessing different areas and developing further promotional videos, alongside our key partners.
Working in partnership with local trusted organisations, such as community venues, local groups and charities, and the University has helped to encourage participation from residents. Innovative tools such as creative workshops also provided a unique way of engaging with residents, but also understanding perceived barriers directly from those who intend to participate in the scheme. This will help us to ensure residents are centre focus for the design and delivery of these, and future schemes.
The council acknowledges that cross-collaboration and engagement with partners needs to continue to be the keystone of the retrofit journey moving forwards. We don’t want to limit this to the extent of work already being carried out, but also want to ensure effective partnerships with training / skills providers and the supply chain. Taking lessons learnt from these programmes and the key partnerships we have made to date; the council are developing a business plan to accelerate these plans and ensure the city continues its commitment to retrofit.