About the group

Zion Bristol is a community centre in Bedminster Down, South Bristol, and provides a safe space for the whole community to use. The space includes a cafe and children’s play area that is open 5 days a week. Over 300 events and activities take place at the centre throughout the year.

About the project

Bristol Community Energy Fund provided a grant of £1,882 to Zion Bristol to enable them to insulate an internal wall between the community space and residential area to help prevent heat loss and lower heating bills. Zion Bristol is in a low income area with little energy efficiency awareness, so they also used the grant to pay for a drop-in workshop for local people to inspire them to think about energy efficiency in their own homes.

The wall was insulated in December 2016, and the drop-in workshop took place in January 2017. The workshop included materials from Bristol Energy Network, Centre for Sustainable Energy and Warm-up Bristol, advice on insulation grants and reducing energy bills and children’s activities such as making a LEGO eco-village. People also had the opportunity to learn about the insulation installed, as well as seeing the solar panels in action and how energy saving techniques are used at the centre.

Jess of Zion Bristol said:

“Several residents of an older generation came along to the drop-in morning and were able to find out more about energy-saving techniques in the home, these are new ideas to an older generation and it was good to see all ages engaging with green technology”.

The project has had several impacts. Social benefits included bringing different local communities together, providing a space for conversations, reducing isolation, improved health and well-being and allowing older people to feel included in new technologies. The insulation at the centre and the improved energy knowledge in the community had environmental benefits and will also help lower costs for the centre and for those residents who improved the efficiency of their homes. Bristol Energy Network loaned their thermal imaging camera to Zion Bristol, which was used to take some before and after images of the insulated wall, clearly showing the reduced heat loss.

Keeping Zion warm during the winter months and keeping fuel bills low means that the centre can remain sustainable for the whole community, providing a safe inclusive space for all.