New toolkit offers insights into increasing inclusivity

We’re excited to share what we’ve learned from our recent participatory research project

At Repowering London, we are passionate about empowering communities to take control of their energy future by developing co-operatives. That’s why we’re incredibly excited to share something we’ve been working on for quite some time: our Participatory Toolkit for Inclusive Community Energy Co-operatives.  


This toolkit is the result of months of research, generously supported by the Connect Fund, and marks a major milestone in our mission to make the community energy movement more inclusive and diverse.


Why this toolkit matters

Despite the best efforts of organisations like Repowering London, a significant number of Britain’s communities are under-represented in the community energy sector and therefore miss out on opportunities to invest in local projects.


A survey conducted by Co-operatives UK in 2020 found that among a cohort of 502 community share investors, 73% were university educated, 92% were White, and 62% were aged over 55. Community energy, more broadly, shows the same trend. This highlights the urgent need for more diversity within the co-operative movement, so that it can become a cultural and social force behind a just energy transition.


For the past eight months, until May 2024, Repowering London has worked in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Anna Rebmann from King’s College London to carry out participatory research and co-design to make participation in energy co-operatives attractive and accessible to a wider range of Londoners.

The research process

We embedded the project within two of our community energy co-operatives, in North Kensington and Newham, with the help of two locally rooted community researchers. We then recruited a group of co-designers in each location (22 in total), all from communities currently under-represented in the co-operative sector, to help us design more inclusive community shares and membership offers.


What’s inside the toolkit?

Our toolkit includes further learning from our participatory research and co-design process, as well as practical tools and strategies to help anyone craft inclusive membership offers. Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find:

  • Participatory research insights: Discover how engaging community members as researchers can uncover deeper insights and creative research methods.
  • Co-design methodology: Learn about innovative co-design techniques that empower community members to actively participate in creating solutions.
  • Practical tools and resources: Use our tips and tools to run your own participatory research process and draw from the wide range of resources in our toolkit.

How we are using what we’ve learned

Both of our co-operatives in North Kensington and Newham are planning community share offers for the near future. The research and design insights in this toolkit will inform these share offers and the co-op’s membership campaigns.


We are also excited that some of our toolkit co-designers have now joined their local co-operatives and will help us to build inclusive, grassroots, community energy movements in North Kensington and Newham.


Think this toolkit could help you? Download your copy today

To download A Participatory Toolkit for Inclusive Community Energy Co-operatives, click the button below.

We’re always interested in opportunities to collaborate with organisations whose work aligns with our mission, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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