Introduction

The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) contract is delivered by Local Energy Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

CARES supports communities across Scotland to engage with, participate in and benefit from the energy transition to net zero emissions. We are committed to ensuring that all of our services are accessible to everyone, with a particular focus on including those from underrepresented and/or marginalised groups. Our Charter reflects this commitment and our priority in addressing inequality and provides a framework for Local Energy Scotland and others in how this can be achieved. When delivering the contract, developing actions and analysing data, we will consider the complexities and sensitivities involved in working with people and communities – all of which are unique.

Our Charter has been developed in partnership with CEMVO Scotland following focus group consultation with people from minority ethnic groups to better understand their awareness and barriers to accessing our services. We have also incorporated learnings from a Close the Gap report exploring gender equality in renewable energy.

Through our Charter we will take active steps to champion a local energy sector that is accessible and inclusive and reflects the Just Transition Principles.

This Charter is implemented through an annual action plan that sets annual objectives. Implementation and monitoring of the action plans inform the regular review of this Charter.

If you have questions about the Charter or would like to provide feedback on this Charter please contact info@localenergy.scot or 0808 808 2288.

Mission statement

The CARES Equality Charter exists to proactively address existing inequalities within the service delivery of the local energy sector and by doing so improve access to local energy support and services for everyone.

Guiding principles and approach

The following guiding principles will underpin our approach and resulting actions towards equality:

  1. As a consortium of organisations, we will work inclusively and fairly through every aspect of our work and as ambassadors of this Charter. We will proactively tackle inequalities that currently exist within the local energy sector.
  2. We will ensure that all staff at Local Energy Scotland are informed and empowered to advance equality.
  3. We will adapt our customer service provision to ensure accessible language, information, meeting venues, and to overcome cultural or other barriers.
  4. We will ensure that all our services and funding streams are accessible to everyone and will proactively encourage and support participation from under-represented groups.
  5. We will ensure that the CARES programme is designed to be delivered in line with the Principles of this Charter.
  6. The implementation and delivery of this Charter and its associated action plan will be monitored and reviewed on an annual basis.
  7. We will encourage and support funding recipients to comply with the Principles of this Charter as conditioned within grant offers. Recipients will be expected to feedback within their reporting about steps they have taken to address inequalities and promote inclusion and accessibility for everyone.

Date charter reviewed and updated: October 2021

Progress in 2022-2023

These are some of the actions we have taken following the implementation of the Equality Charter through our 2022 – 2023 Action Plan.

We focussed this year’s Action Plan on our Just Transition Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These include targets to promote CARES support to ethnic minority, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and to assist ethnic minority, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

We are developing a short questionnaire for community organisations who attend our events to help us understand who is attending our events, and what further focussed work we need to do to ensure a wider range of communities know about CARES and can access our support.

We published a short film celebrating the Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund featuring four communities, one of them being Inverness Masjid.

We co-hosted a workshop with CEMVO through the Ethnic Minority Environmental Network on the Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund in Glasgow in November 2022 and offered support to those communities wishing to take up CARES.

We co-hosted Community Building Fund events with communities at the Madoch Centre and ISKCON Scotland.

Our annual CARES conference included the Just Transition as a theme, with Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice, speaking on our morning panel. Nadia Shaikh led a session on inclusion and how to involve more people from the community in community renewable energy projects.

Everyone in our Local Energy Scotland team has undertaken our diversity and inclusion training.

Further actions identified for 2023 – 2024

We will continue to review and update our website to ensure it conforms to web content accessibility guidelines.

We will roll out our new questionnaire for community organisations at CARES events.

We will produce further case studies and webinars/ workshops for minority ethnic communities and vulnerable/disadvantaged groups.

We will continue our partnership work with new and existing partners, particularly Third Sector Interface organisations, to engage with minority ethnic groups and vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to broaden the awareness and uptake of CARES support.