Energy Know How at Whiston Parish Hall

Following the Energy Know How presentation to a group of senior citizens at Whiston parish hall, Stanley asked if they could help him. He has his energy supplied by Scottish Power and in April 2022 they increased his direct debit to £380 which he managed to pay but it was a struggle – he knew this was far too much and tried to get them to reduce it but several times they said they had worked it out on his previous usage.

Eventually they agreed to lower his payment to £232.00 which he is still paying and from Oct-Mar will get the £66 refund due to the government £400 grant to households – he is, however in credit by £790.00 following his latest bill which shows he is still paying more than he has used. On this basis his credit balance will continue to grow.

He has attempted on several occasions to contact Scottish Power as their website says he can have his credit balance back; however, they use automated chat bots which do not take him to where he wants to be, and he has not had any response to call back requests or emails. Sharon discussed with him the process of how he can make a formal complaint and gave him the email address for the CEO of Scottish Power – Kevin Anderson. They discussed what he needed to include, and she gave him guidance on how to draft his email considering he has had multiple customer service failures from them, and he should be due to a minimum of £90/£120 compensation. They also discussed ways to save energy including using a slow cooker and having radiator foils/led lightbulbs. With this in mind, he requested a green doctor visit. His wife is partially sighted, and both are in their 80’s.

He was very appreciative of the help and advice he was given and will make the complaint to Scottish Power.

Bevan Crescent

The residents of Bevan Crescent community group have created community activities for over a decade. The group have a communal garden that is well maintained, they have held many fundraising events for the group and other causes including clothing and food donations to charity. It is fair to say that the residents of Bevan are very community focused and have successful kept the group running. Unfortunately, the longest serving committee member announced they were stepping down after 10 years of volunteering. Although the community were shocked at first having an experience committee member stepdown from a leading role. However, the residents have now stepped up to take leading roles.

The group reached out to its members and wider community for support in creating a new committee. RotherFed attended a session during a coffee morning with the group, the members talked about roles and responsibilities that committee members would have to take on. It was decided they would like to continue to run the activities the previous committee ran. After members had taken on the responsibility of running the sessions and settled into their positions, the group have now signed a constitution and are officially a constituted committee and are in the process of opening a bank account with a view of applying for funding.

The future looks bright for Bevan Crescent, after losing a valuable member of their committee they have rallied community member who are ready to take the group to the next level.

Litter Picking with Equans and Sanctuary Housing

In the Dalton area of Rotherham there is a large housing development, creating a combination of new affordable housing for private owners and social housing. Part of the Corporate responsibility of the two firms involved is to ensure that their staff are required to get involved in social action locally. The firms have chosen to organize litter picks around the site to give them a visible presence within the community. They have asked the Heart of the Community project to support the work as we can link them in with local services to promote their work as well as linking them to the community groups that are already active in the area.

All levels of employees are expected to take as part of their contract from management right down to construction. The people from the team that we have met so far have been surprised at how rewarding the simple task of litter picking has been and some have even described how addictive it can be and “make you want to make sure everything that you can see has been removed.”

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Digital Champion Support

Alison is a lady with disabilities Joanne met at the Catch-up Café. Alison attends regularly and is a council tenant, she needed help with her mobile phone as she had ‘lost’ her text messages or so she thought. Del was helping Alison to see if he could find them and tidy her folders and apps up on her phone. She was getting quite distressed about it as that was how she received messages about GP and hospital appointments Alison asked if Joanne could look, so Joanne asked Del to text Alison to see check what the issue was. By doing this Joanne was able to locate the Text Message folder on Alison’s phone and move the folder to her front screen for easy access. Alison was over the moon and so relieved, you could see the stress fall away. Christine and Allie (organisers of the café) were happy that Alison had her messages now as they could see she was becoming quite anxious. They can absolutely see the benefits of having a digital champion representation at the Catch-up Café, they don’t want anything formal, just a mingle and chat kind of ethos. This was very good for us to engage with different housing tenants in a informal setting.

Woodsetts Neighbourhood Watch

Woodsetts Neighbourhood reacting to an increase in burglaries in the area and a large rise in offroad bikes recently, decided they needed CCTV in the village. Working closely with the Police community support officer’s (PCSO’S) and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s (RMBC’s) CCTV department the group scouted locations that cameras would be most effective to cover the hotspots that developed through COVID. The group and partners both agreed that 9 Wi-Fi enabled CCTV cameras were needed and the Police would need an extra unit to view the footage from anywhere in Rotherham live but this would come at a substantial cost to the group.

Not deterred by this the group decided to raise the funds they needed and over the last few months, the group have been crowdfunding and holding social events to raise the money needed to install CCTV in the areas they had highlighted, in the first 5 weeks the group had managed to raise over half the cost through donations from residents and businesses in the area demonstrating not only the community’s backing for this project but that the community had come together behind the group and the project, but the group knew crowdfunding alone wouldn’t reach their target.

At this point the group decided to approach their Parish Councillors and Rotherham Council Councillors for help with the remaining funding. Both sets of councillors were more than happy to help get the group to the target, this means the group now have the funds to pay for the CCTV system for the community and it will be installed soon making the groups goals of a safer Woodsetts one step closer to becoming a reality

Making Our Neighbourhoods Centres Grow

The coffee sessions and now the bingo sessions have made a huge difference in Anne’s life at High Nook neighbourhood centre. Before these sessions existed she did not have much of a social life and said she spent her days inside watching TV. Now she comes to the centre for the coffee morning and bingo, and it has given her a bit of social life. People she knew faces of; she is now getting to know better. She said she has formed new friendships and even invited one lady into her home whilst she waited for her to get ready to go down to the centre, which felt nice for her. She feels like bonds are growing slowly but surely and its due to the sessions at the centre.

She also told me that coming to the centre has also given her the confidence to go to other places which she rarely did before. She said she is going out to Worksop tomorrow which she’s never done on her own. She feels the sessions have made a positive impact on her mental health and given her confidence.  She is also the bingo caller at the sessions which has given her a sense of purpose and the responsibility of doing this makes her feel good and needed. The bingo reminds her of old times when they use to have bingo on before and she is hoping the group grows and sessions get stronger.

She told me she has arthritis in her hip and knee so didn’t do much physical activity outside of her home so just going to centre has made her move more which in turn helps her feel better mentally as she knows she is moving more.

“Heart of the Community” at Rotherham Show

It’s that time of year again where RotherFed attend the Rotherham show. This year we decided the Heart of the Community project was going to spread the love and good vibrations on both days of the show. We were astonished at the response we have had to the luau stand and how residents are helping those who need it know matter how small the task. A whopping 1023 Rotherham residents embraced the Luau theme and our mission to discover the little acts of kindness. We’ve estimated from 1023 pledges over 1500 residents will benefit. We have found that residents are supporting each other in a variety of ways such as taking out the bins, looking after a friend, raising money for Charity, helping people find their car and so much more! We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend speaking with residents, groups, and the service providers and having fun at the stall. Here are just a few examples of what we talked about with you:

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The Circus comes to Warreners Drive

The Lets Circus tent had been one of the main attractions at Rotherham show. Seeing the buzz they created, we decided to look at their social media to see how the group engaged in the community and saw this advertised on their facebook account.

“It’s not every day that the circus comes to town and invites everyone over 55 to come and play. But that’s what we’re doing If you’re over 55 and want to do something fun, different, and exciting, then this is for you. Come join Let’s Circus for a day or three, as part of our adult participation programme. Come for a session, or we can bring an activity to a community group near you.

We contacted the group at Warreners Drive and asked if they would be interested in this activity. At first the group were quite dubious as none of them knew quite what to expect. This sort of activity is not readily available in our communities so we couldn’t even give them an idea of what was going to happen to put their minds at ease.

Steve, Demetri and Scribbles arrived with plenty of enthusiasm and a bag of tricks. They opened with an Icebreaking and memory exercise that had the group laughing and joking within minutes. There were spinning plates and plenty of activities for the whole group to get involved in. The session was enjoyed by everyone and there was some great feedback for the lets circus team.

“I would like to say how much I appreciated the fun we all enjoyed.”

Margaret B

“Brilliant fun, very therapeutic. Please come again.”


“We all quite unexpectedly enjoyed every ‘task’!!!”

Margaret F

“Great. Sorry I couldn’t stay until the end”


“It was a very good, enjoyable few hours”


“Was very good. Really enjoyed it. Hope to do it again.”


“Amazing!! Really enjoyed by all. Looking forward to seeing you all again.

If there was the opportunity for Lets Circus to deliver an activity within the community again, we know one group that would definitely want to be involved.

Making Our Money Go Further – Making a Difference

We first met this person many months ago at Shiloh homeless Drop-in session. Through the help of Shiloh and Rotherham Council, they secured accommodation. Through MOMGF (Making Our Money Go Further) they were referred to Citizens Advice who helped them with their benefits.

They seemed lonely, so we continued to engage with them regularly at Shiloh and provided information about money and community groups i.e., Government Cost of Living measures. We even went online with them to access Rotherham MBC’s Energy Crisis Support Scheme, from which they got £250 towards energy costs.

I met them again recently, at the social supermarket, where they are continued to be supported, and they were happy with their new accommodation and receiving tenancy support. They had always been keen gardeners and although their new accommodation did not have a garden, they were volunteering at a community allotment. They described the joy of picking and eating a ripe fruit straight from the tree.

It just shows that with the right support from different partner organisations, people can turn their life around and increase their sense of wellbeing.

Keppel and Scholes Heritage

The Keppel and Scholes Heritage group were formed during lockdown to help Chris from the museum with the restoration of Keppel’s Column.

Since its conception the has evolved and now encompasses the surrounding area that contains a Roman encampment, a rare ecological meadow and wet land and is home to rare daytime moths that the group spotted on their bug hunt and flora and fauna events earlier this year where they catalogued the species they found.

This month the group working with Clifton Park Museum the group helped to host the Keppel’s Column open day, this is the first time in around 50 years that the column has been open to the public. During the event members of the group led tours of six people up the column where they held a talk on the rich history of the site and landmarks that are visible from the top one of the members of the group also made a short documentary that visitors were invited to view.

On the run up to the event the group interview people around the area to get their memories of the column and these were incorporated into a land art installation where visitors were invited to listen to the interviews on mp3 players as they explored the different areas of the installation.

Looking to the future the group are looking at becoming part of the Rotherham Heritage Society, this is an umbrella group that showcases Rotherham’s many heritage projects through numerus events over the year the group are planning on using this platform as a means of promoting the group borough wide.