Cooltorise and amunt! projects join forces to fight summer energy poverty

A heat alert service has been activated to warn groups that may be most affected by high temperatures

In recent years, heat waves have become more intense and more frequent, and many people are affected. This puts several groups at risk, including those who cannot afford to pay their energy bills and who find it impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature in their homes.

To tackle the so-called summer energy poverty, Cooltorise project works to mitigate its effects.

This year the project has joined forces with the pilot plan of amunt!, an initiative of the Barcelona City Council that supports the employment and social integration of people who benefit from the minimum living income, to improve the quality of life of all those who are most vulnerable to heat waves,

The result is a system of heat alerts carried out during the month of June by members of the amunt! Occupational Service, which seeks to provide telephone support to those groups considered most vulnerable to intense heat waves. “The aim is to carry out an information and awareness-raising campaign to give advice and recommendations to vulnerable people on how to deal with heatwaves,” explains Patrici Hernández, coordinator of the service.

The most innovative aspect is that it allows people who are part of the employment service to access a work contract and, at the same time, to have a social impact and to be able to offer telephone support. “The people who take part in the amunt! programme receive specific training which, on the one hand, is useful for them personally and, on the other hand, allows them to help other people,” says Hernández.

Testimonials from the campaign

The 1,400 people who have received calls with information on energy and heat culture are users of the Energy Advice Points who, throughout the year, receive assistance to reduce energy bills and improve both their energy culture and comfort at home. Depending on the needs of the users, the information transmitted has been different.

What was most surprising about the responses was the interest in the climate shelters: “People don’t know about them, they like the idea and they ask which ones they have in their neighbourhood and how they can use them“, explains Marta Sabater, a member of the amunt! pilot programme, who adds that people are usually very receptive to the advice given on how to deal with the heat.

Those in charge of the service are clear that in order to capture the attention of the people contacted, a lot of empathy and active listening is needed. In this sense, they regret the great loneliness that often accompanies these people: “You call for a minute and people explain a lot of things, you notice that they are very lonely“, says Marta Merelo, also a member of the occupation plan.

Although the service ends at the beginning of July, the Cooltorise project has activated an email alert system to warn users of Barcelona’s EAPs of the arrival of heat waves and hot days and nights. This system includes relevant information on the services offered by the city to cope with the heat, as well as tips and good daily habits that can be applied both personally and at home.

The activities took place at the Garcilaso Social Services Centre.

About Cooltorise

COOLTORISE is a project coordinated by the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid and implemented in Barcelona by the Welfare and Deveopment Association and ECOSERVEIS. At the european level, ihas the partner organizations AISFORComune di ParmaSdruzenie Tzentar za Ustoychivost likonomichesko Razvitie – MOPObshtina Peshtera and Vilabs OE. It is funded by the Horizon 2020 Program.

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