Rory has nominated Sandra Keveaney of Wigton-based charity the North Allerdale Development Trust (NADT), for the national TalkTalk Digital Heroes awards of 2013.

The smart meter project in Wigton is the first of its kind in the country, and was initiated by Rory Stewart. The local MP is nominating the charity for its hard work and involvement in launching, in association with Silver Spring Networks, the UK’s first ever ‘smart energy community’, which is helping community spaces such as Barnardo’s and the Wigton Youth Station, and residents of the local Greenacres housing estate, to conserve energy and address fuel poverty through the installation of a smart meter in their homes and premises.The meters, which operate over a wireless communications mesh, enable real-time data of energy usage to be shared via a community website – to be launched this month – which will educate the community about the benefits of smart metering, enable comparison of usage, and be a platform for the sharing of tips to save energy.

Rory said: “Wigton’s smart meter pilot scheme, being driven by Sandra Keveaney of the NADT in association with Silver Spring Networks, is a fantastically innovative local project that is of huge national importance. Using improved wireless infrastructure, the project has at its heart energy efficiency and the use of a community website to enable residents to address issues of fuel poverty by sharing real-time data of energy use, and giving consumers the power to monitor usage through these intelligent devices, shop around for suppliers, and trial other energy-saving appliances to run from the network. This is the perfect example of a community who are using cutting-edge technology to improve the lives of ordinary citizens, and I think it thoroughly deserves this boost, to be able to invest in most smart meters for the community and to build the local grid as deep and as wide as possible.”

Sandra Keveaney of NADT said: “I am delighted to be nominated for the Talk Talk Digital Heroes awards. The Wigton wireless smart meter project is an exciting and innovative approach to energy consumption in communities. Fuel poverty continues to impact heavily on many of the most vulnerable members of our community and this project through its use of its user friendly technology and peer to peer learning is enabling people to make informed decisions on their energy use and how to make valuable savings.”

The awards, now in their sixth year, have provided funding and support to 62 organisations across Britain, including various charities which have used technology to help children and youth, the homeless and people with disabilities. They are run in partnership with the Daily Mirror and charities Citizens Online and Go ON UK, and aim to recognise inspirational people who use technology to benefit their local community. Twelve winners, one from each region of the UK and voted for by the public, will each get £5,000 to enhance their digital projects, with one overall winner getting £10,000.

Commenting on the awards, Dido Harding, Chief Executive of TalkTalk, said: “Digital Heroes is the only competition of its kind, and each year attracts hundreds of nominations from people across the country. It has already made an enormous difference to dozens of important projects across the UK and this year we look forward to finding new and innovative ways of using technology for good.”

“A staggering 7.1 million UK adults have still never been online and 16 million do not have the Basic Online Skills to take advantage of digital tools. That’s why I am proud to support TalkTalk’s Digital Heroes Awards, with Go ON UK” says Baroness Lane-Fox. “The initiative celebrates inspiring digital champions achieving the extraordinary through digital technology in communities across the UK and is one I look forward to every year. John Fisher, Chief Executive of Citizens Online, said: “The internet is an important part of daily life for an increasing number of Britons, especially children and young people, and it is important that it is made accessible to everybody. Digital Heroes has already helped lots of important projects to change their communities for the better and we hope this year’s awards will inspire more people to think about how digital technology can benefit society.” More information about the TalkTalk Digital Heroes awards can be found at

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