The SAVE project – A community-based research programme


Shirley Warren Working Together

The big success of the SAVE project so far has been the development of the community group – Shirley Warren Working Together – which became a constituted community group in March 2017.

The group was formed to give residents of the area a voice, and to serve as a platform for people living in the Warren to work together. The group brings together groups and residents who live and work in Shirley Warren.

SWWT was formed with support from SAVE (Solent Achieving Value from Efficiency), a research project by the electric network operator, looking to reduce peak-time energy use. The project is working under three strands:

– Shirley Warren Working Together to Give the Community A Voice,
– Shirley Warren Working Together to Make the Community a Better Place,
– Shirley Warren Working Together to Save Energy.

With support the Environment Centre the group meets to discuss issues and ideas within the community, and plan how to address each of the three themes.

The groups activities started off with a Community Cafe – an open, welcoming space where members of the local community can drop by, have a cuppa and a chat. More and more residents are getting involved, and making use of drop-in sessions by councillors, Citizens Advice, energy-saving advice and more.

Community Clean-ups in Shirley Warren

Since October 2016 the community have been holding regular clean-ups in Shirley Warren, to make the community a better place. These are taking place about every six weeks. With the support of Southampton City Council, the Environment Centre, local councillors and members of the community the Greenway around Shirley Warren has been transformed into a clean green space for all the community to enjoy.

Long Term Sustainability

While the SAVE project draws towards a close at the end of 2017, the community group is moving towards being sustainable in the long term. Since becoming a constituted group, Shirley Warren Working Together, with the support of the Environment Centre, has been successful in bringing in futher funding to continue the activities it has started, and to further its plans for a permanent community hub.

Follow the progress of Shirley Warren Working Together at their website and facebook page.

Community Aspirations

The SAVE Project provides a dedicated resource person – Community Coach – and associated funding to support positive improvements in local quality of life for two communities within and around the Solent area.

The aim is to help make each community more sustainable – whether that be environmentally, socially or economically.

Within each selected ‘trial’ community, local residents and organisations have been able to draw on the resources of the SAVE Project over a continuous two year period to help identify the priorities for change and improvement that they would most like to see.

The project is also supporting the community to achieve its chosen objectives as part of a dedicated local strategy.

SAVE is actively supported by key local agencies including the local council, public utilities (electricity, gas, water), universities, social landlords, business and environmental groups.  These agencies have partnered with the community in helping to deliver the community’s agreed strategy over the two year period.

Invaluable Research

The SAVE Project is funded by Ofgem, the energy industry regulator.

As well as supporting the trial communities to achieve their individual objectives, the Project has also offered opportunities for researching how service agencies and communities can work collaboratively to achieve positive change in energy consumption through energy efficiency measures.

In particular, the Project has looked at the options for reducing energy consumption, especially peak electricity demand.  The lessons learned will allow good practice to be shared through Ofgem with all electricity network operators across the UK.

An understanding of how to manage peak demand will assist network engineers in making optimum decisions about how and when to invest in upgrading the power distribution system – and in the process, minimise disruption for communities affected.  This will be particularly relevant in areas where the existing network is operating at or near capacity.

The aim is that this research work runs alongside efforts to deliver the community’s own distinctive strategy.  The collaborative work between service agencies and the community will ideally provide a framework within which the energy efficiency research can be managed most effectively.


If you would like to find out more about the SAVE project in Southampton, please contact the project officer Zaki Mahfoud based at the Environment Centre (tEC), either by email: or by phone: 02380 336172.

If you would like to speak to the SAVE project manager, please contact SSEPD by email:


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