The network’s board is currently comprised of the following 9 directors:
Caroline Bird (chair)
Caroline is a freelance researcher, currently attached to the University of Bristol (Cabot Institute and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law) where she has been working on community energy, and with social enterprises in various sectors responding to climate change. Her research in 2013 helped BEN develop the groundbreaking Bristol Community Strategy for Energy and has fed into the national Community Energy Strategy. At the core is an interest in the broad issues of environmental sustainability and, more specifically, in community action, energy and climate change, and sustainable environments and how interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approaches help develop practical solutions.
Caroline has past lives in Civil Engineering and local government environmental policy and brings a breadth of sustainability knowledge and experience and a few useful skills to the board. She is also a director of Transition Montpelier and a member of the Montpelier Energy Group.
Jake is an academic and activist. He is currently a Research Fellow in the Sussex Energy Group at SPRU, University of Sussex where he works on local and community-scale change processes and unfolding societal transformations. He is interested in energy policy, community participation and innovation. Jake has been involved in the network since early 2011, first coordinating the network and later as a director. Jake coordinated the development and launch of the Bristol Community Strategy for Energy in 2013.
Simon Roberts OBE
Chief Executive, Centre for Sustainable Energy
Simon has been helping people, organisations and policy-makers to develop effective responses to the threat of climate change and the misery of cold homes for more than 30 years. He was appointed as Chief Executive of the Bristol-based charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) in 2002. This followed senior roles for Triodos Bank and Friends of the Earth and two previous spells at CSE, which he initially joined as a volunteer in 1985. A policy advisor to national government, regulators and academic programmes, Simon is also a non-executive director of Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC and Bristol Energy Network CIC. He chairs the Board of Thrive Renewables Plc (the new name for Triodos Renewables). He was awarded an OBE in 2011.
Charlotte has been working in Bristol’s support and advice sector for the past 5 years; delivering advice, workshops and a programme of community outreach. She is the Community Engagement Officer at Pennywise, a money management charity which supports people to take control of their finances. She is keen to support efforts to promote sustainability and reduce fuel poverty, connecting green issues and energy saving with money saving. She would like to share her experiences of community engagement and use her connections to support Bristol Energy Network to widen its reach across communities.
Vince has been a director of Bristol Energy Network since June 2014. He sees himself as an ‘eco-modernist’, interested in the modern built environment, communities and individuals that live within it, particularly homes and how people use energy. He is a strong believer that, within the UK we desperately need a wider demographic debate on tacking climate change, to strengthen the case for more radical progressive policy-making on how we best produce, supply and use energy. Vince has a diverse working and volunteering history, including working at Bristol City Council ‘Create Centre’ Bristol Energy Advice Centre (run by Centre for Sustainable Energy) and working as a local authority Housing Officer. He is also a Domestic Energy Assessor and successfully started and ran his own business for 5 years.
Sam Willitts has worked in environmental roles across the public sector. He has been the Energy and Sustainability Manager at University Hospitals Bristol since 2010. Along with tackling carbon emissions through both engineering and behaviour change approaches; his efforts are focused on embedding sustainability in activities across the Trust. Key successes in greening the Trust have been achieved through developing partnerships with organisations across Bristol and beyond. He is particularly interested in community led solutions to sustainability problems. He is a Director of Keynsham Community Energy. He has recently completed a One Planet MBA at Exeter University.
Bakary Sanneh (Treasurer)
Bakary Sanneh is a local resident who is involved in voluntary community work and has a special interest in energy efficiency and awareness. He has a degree in Accounting and Financial Management and experience in general accounting duties, he is currently working in customer service. He is also auditor of Senegambia Hidden Talents, an organisation that is involved in helping children reach their potentials, and involved in fundraising for the society, planning activities for children and assisting them to become future leaders. Bakary interest in joining the network was to help in advising people struggling to pay their energy debts, finding cheaper deals and accessing grants that they may be entitled to, since the community he works with has very low awareness of matters relating to energy efficiency.
Over the last 9 years Helen has worked in various roles within the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Southern Solar, Sustain and Solarcentury. Through her roles she has engaged and advised individuals and community groups on their energy usage, worked with people in fuel poverty, developed effective relationships with companies to win repeat business, managed funding applications to access government ECO funding, worked with community organisations to install successful projects and successfully sold and developed millions of pounds worth of complex solar projects. Helen is currently working on setting up her own business but is keen to stay connected to the energy world and use her acquired knowledge to help a worthwhile cause.