Our country has been gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and looming environmental emergency.

With energy prices skyrocketing, and a climate disaster impending, it’s clear the status quo for our energy market simply isn’t working and we need bold, new solutions to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face as a country.

That’s where community energy steps in.

Community energy means that cheap, clean renewable energy is by produced and owned by the communities and customers who rely on it – giving local people ownership and control of renewables instead of multinational oil and gas companies only interested in making record profits.

Last week, I was proud to announce a £300,000 community energy fund – supporting Hackney’s journey to net zero and forming part of the Council’s plan to tackle the climate crisis as well as helping residents with their rising energy bills.

Working with the community energy movement, schools, faith organisations, co-operatives, activists and nurseries across the borough, the programme aims to encourage other community groups to bid for projects that help reduce organisation’s impact on the environment.

Within Hackney, there’s a huge appetite from the community to support local organisations and we can’t talk about what’s best for our communities without their input and involvement – something that is central to the co-operative movement.

As a Labour and Co-operative Councillor, I know the action our Party is taking to call for more support community energy by the Government. I was disappointed to see their last remaining financial fund for community energy was not renewed earlier in April. It has yet again fallen to local Councils like mine in Hackney to give community energy the attention it so desperately needs.

We need a new energy production system that is cheap, green, and owned and controlled by the people who use it. Only then can we move towards a society where power and wealth are shared.