The Naturgy Foundation and Cáritas are to run a new social-innovation project in Ávila that will benefit more than 1,200 of the city’s residents

Edificio Cáritas en Ávila Energy volunteering

The initiative, which will be carried out in a building belonging to the Diocese, involves using the profits from renewable power generation to help combat energy poverty.

The Naturgy Foundation and Cáritas are to run a social innovation project in a building belonging to the Diocese in Ávila. It will bring together renewable-power generation from solar panels, energy-poverty alleviation and the promotion of jobs for vulnerable people. The project will benefit the more than 1,200 people who use the services of this building in the capital of the province of Ávila.

It is part of the national-level agreement between the two entities renewed this month by the Chair of the Naturgy Foundation, Rafael Villaseca, the Chair of Cáritas Spain, Manuel Bretón, and the Managing Director of the Naturgy Foundation, María Eugenia Coronado.

This unique initiative, which will be carried out next year, is part of the Ávila Diocese’s “Energy for the People” project that arose from the need to improve the energy efficiency of the building Cáritas has on Avenida Madrid in the city of Ávila.

In addition to reducing and improving respectively the building’s environmental impact and energy efficiency , the project will also cut its consumption costs, enabling the savings to be allocated to meeting the basic needs of the individuals and families taking part in Cáritas programmes.

On the other hand, the management and sale of any surplus power produced will also be used to co-fund projects aimed at providing people with access to decent employment.

This project will benefit the more than 1,200 people receiving assistance from Cáritas in the building, which boasts three floors and a social store, and where it runs its employment programme.

The project will also complement other energy-related initiatives that have already been carried out in this building, thanks to the support of the Naturgy Foundation over the past two years, and which have enabled the windows to be changed for improved insulation, the lighting system to be replaced with more efficient LED-based systems and solar panels to be installed.

Ávila is one of the best provinces in Spain for harnessing the sun’s heat and light, besides which it is at a high altitude and has few clouds and low temperatures throughout the year. Thanks to these features, the energy facilities in this area can achieve up to 10% higher profits than those located elsewhere.

Renewed agreement

The renewal of this collaboration agreement between the Naturgy Foundation and Cáritas for the third consecutive year has so far benefited 15,000 people in vulnerable situations throughout Spain.

After signing the agreement, Villaseca highlighted “the importance of working in coordination not only with the Authorities, but also with social organisations, which have a real understanding of the daily lives of families going through hard times, during a particularly complicated period owing to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Bretón, for his part, welcomed “the strengthening of this collaboration with Naturgy, with the signing of the agreement for the third year running, which is going to enable many of the families supported by Cáritas to have their right of access to energy guaranteed and the living conditions in their homes improved”. “This commitment is has added value at a time such as the present, where so many people find themselves in a seriously precarious situation as a result of the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”, he stated.