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Building the network against energy poverty at the local level – Municipality of Parma

The Third Annual Energy Poverty Conference offered a valuable space to explore and address the challenges faced by those living in energy poverty. The workshop of the CooltoRise project, which also came about thanks to the collaboration with the City of Parma(Cooltorise project), played a significant role in analysing the experiences and needs of the people involved, as well as in outlining potential solutions.

The workshop adopted a participatory approach, involving participants in identifying and understanding the various facets of energy poverty through immersion in different profiles of affected people. Each participant was given a card, then everyone was given a few minutes to read, understand and be able to immerse themselves in the scenario in order to identify the difficulties they face in their daily lives. This exercise fostered a deeper understanding of the daily challenges faced by people in fuel poverty and possible practical solutions.

After the difficulties, the workshop participants had to interact with each other and, still in the shoes of their ‘characters’, they had to figure out who they could turn to for help and, in particular, what help they hoped to get. The results of this role-playing activity were entered into a previously prepared grid in which, in the rows were the names of the characters and, in the columns, difficulties, whom to turn to and help hoped for were listed respectively.

The second part of this workshop presented a similar activity, but this time the participants were invited to interact and propose new solutions as themselves, i.e. as people who, having participated in the Third Annual Conference on Energy Poverty, have presumably acquired a lot of knowledge and skills. Fausto Richetti, from the City of Parma, impersonated a mayor who needed some suggestions for the conditions of his citizens.

The workshop revealed numerous challenges faced by people in fuel poverty, ranging from a lack of financial resources to pay energy bills to a lack of awareness of the resources available to receive assistance. Those affected seek help in a variety of places, including public institutions, non-governmental organisations and social welfare services.

The hopes and expectations of those seeking help are varied, but often include the hope of finding concrete and sustainable solutions to the challenges of energy poverty. These solutions may include access to financial assistance programmes, education on energy management and support for energy efficiency in homes.

The workshop emphasised the importance of developing targeted tools and resources to address the specific needs of people in energy poverty.

In the future, it is necessary to continue promoting awareness and providing adequate resources to tackle energy poverty. This includes the development of training programmes, as well as the implementation of public policies aimed at reducing energy inequalities and ensuring fair access to energy for all.

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