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Future’s bright for charity thanks to Stokey Energy

Children paddle on the River Lea past the Leaside Trust community building. A canoeist with a dog drifts by.  On the edge of the river are the numbers 4-10 and in the background are two buildings, one with stairs up to a veranda.h.
The Leaside Trust, artwork by Henny Beaumont

A group from Stoke Newington dedicated to making the area more carbon neutral has saved the day for a local outdoor-pursuits charity.

When Stokey Energy heard that the Leaside Trust’s energy bills were set to rise almost eightfold, they set about installing solar panels, an air-source heat pump and better insulation.

The work, funded by a £176,000 grant from the London Legacy Development Corporation, means bills for the community sports club (a registered charity) shouldn’t increase at all and it’s lessened their environmental impact.

Terry Kinsella of the Leaside trust (right)

Terry Kinsella, Chief Executive of the Leaside Trust, said when their fixed-price £2,400 energy deal ended, they received a projected bill for the next year for £18,000.

He added: “We panicked, we were in trouble, we didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, Jackie, our environmental advocate, and myself ended up going to the Mildmay and managed to hook up with Stokey Energy and pleaded our case to them. What an opportunity that has been.

“They knew how to deal with contractors and get the right price and build it on time and in budget and really put myself and my trustees at ease. What’s special about this relationship is that it’s about local people helping local centres and it feels right.”

Stokey Energy has other big local projects planned; including work to improve the energy efficiency of St Paul’s Church on Stoke Newington High St, The Mildmay Working Mens’ Club in Newington Green and The Hackney Empire. They also oversaw a project to provide solar panels at Stoke Newington School.

Rows of solar panels on a rooftop in Stoke Newington. In the background are traditional London brick homes.
Solar panels on the roof of Stoke Newington School

Ellen Baker, of Stokey Energy, said: “The Leaside Trust has been running for 50 years but seeing their energy bill rise by so much could have changed everything. Luckily one of our team worked her magic with a funding application.

“We’ve installed 60 solar panels on the roof and that’s generating multiple houses worth of energy. In the summer, when the days are long, the building is often taking nothing from the grid and the charity is able to keep serving the community. Their next step will be to get a battery so they can store the energy and use it outside daylight hours.”

Ground floor spaces on the site are being insulated and clad in British larch, enabling them to be re-purposed as a classroom for the charity EcoActive. Doors and single-glazed windows have also been replaced with double-glazed ones. The project will save an estimated six tonnes of CO2 per year.

Stokey Energy, which runs as a Community Benefit Society, is made up of local residents, with expertise in fields such as planning, building, grant applications and the environment.

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