Philip is a director at North Kensington Community Energy
I was introduced to community energy by … Nasri, Repowering London’s Community Lead for North Kensington Community Energy (NKCE). She invited me to an event NKCE was running in Avondale Park and later I joined a workshop where we built our own solar panel and charged a phone using it, which was a way of showing the viability of solar energy.
What I like most about NKCE is … the community aspect of it, the fact that somebody is trying to do something with the North Kensington community, which has just come through the Grenfell fire. Until recently I worked in social prescribing for the NHS and I’m excited that I am still doing something meaningful for people, which is really rewarding.
Getting back into tech also really excited me. I’m a qualified electrician and have designed and made my own printed circuit boards. Years ago a friend of mine who was a rally driving champion in Zimbabwe asked me to make him electronic ignition for his car – in the days before they used to sell cars with that technology. I ended up making eight or ten of them, when he asked for one for all of his competitors!
I have always been a very community-minded person … For example, I was one of the first people to join the Maxilla Men’s Shed, where local people can come together and do woodworking and other practical activities. I’m working on my own project too, a community workshop for people to do repairing and that kind of thing. Being part of NKCE and the training sessions they run for us on all aspects of what it means to be a director is really going to help me not just in my NKCE work but also to develop skills to help me get my own project started.
Being involved in projects like NKCE can give people a sense of purpose … Our Grenfell community is in constant need and a lot of people really suffer, especially the younger ones. So, I would like to do more with NKCE to give them a sense of purpose, and get them interested in in tech. NKCE seems to do that very well. It has a good mix of young and old. It keeps me young, too, being around younger people and doing things with them.
I came to this country in 1980 from Zimbabwe … where we used to have snow that lay on the ground for days and days and now there hasn’t been any snow for the last five years to speak of. So, I can see climate change happening. Anything that lessens that – like using solar energy instead of fossil fuels – has got to be the way forward.
Everybody knows climate change is happening … and people would like to see changes. It is important that everybody gets involved. We’ve already begun moving in the right direction because of the energy price increases and the way people have learned how to conserve energy. And I do think our young people are more involved than we realise, so the Green movement is going to get stronger and stronger.
Community energy is for everybody … It brings a lot of benefits – cheaper electricity for a start! NKCE is just an amazing organisation: very well managed; very, very involved with the community and full of very, very nice people.