Jess McCabe

I am a journalist and these are some of the stories I've been working on lately

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Installed on a house near you, solar panels are back in business. Here, Jess McCabe investigates why PV dropped off the radar in the first place, and how one social landlord in Somerset is bringing it back into the spotlight

The Bournville estate is one of the most deprived in the country. It’s actually in the most deprived 1 per cent, but the casual visitor would never guess. Built to house workers for a chocolate factory that was never built, the estate is tucked a few minutes from the coast in Weston-super-Mare. Clusters of small houses wind around squat tower blocks.

When Inside Housing visits, the pretty houses bask in the sun. Despite some having been built in the 1920s, the homes have a decidedly up-to-date feel. Wherever you look, the roofs are rammed with glinting solar photovoltaic panels, the ultimate symbol of ‘eco-bling’.

In the lead-up to drastic cuts to the feed-in tariff in 2011 – paid to people for generating electricity from solar panels – the Daily Mail’s coverage described the situation as an ‘absurd subsidy bonanza’, illustrating the story with photos of millionaires like Mick Jagger who’d managed to reduce their energy bills with subsidised solar panels.

Wandering around Bournville talking to residents about their PV panels, however, a different picture of the FIT and solar quickly emerges.

Read the rest of my feature at Inside Housing.

New Charter Homes’ domestic violence advisors tragically have their work cut out for them. Jess McCabe joins the team to witness how this type of abuse can shatter lives, and what is being done to help rebuild them

Maria Fleming* answers the door to her pretty, red brick house with a baby in her arms. Meeting the confident 31-year-old today, dressed entirely in black, with short black hair, there is little to suggest the vulnerable young woman she once was.

But later this year her abusive ex-boyfriend, the father of her baby boy, will be released from prison where he has been serving a four-year sentence for robbing a woman at knifepoint.

Dressed in leggings and fluffy slippers, the scars on her arm hint at her troubled past. Maria is matter of fact while she relays the latest incidents – her ex-boyfriend has ignored a ban on contacting her, and she is worried he will turn up on her doorstep as soon as he is released. ‘I’m not prepared to put up with it anymore,’ she says.

Read the rest at Inside Housing

Recent stories

Most people know what a domestic violence refuge is. But probably haven’t heard of independent domestic violence advisors – who help victims who are at high risk of being murdered. So I followed along two for the day, and wrote about it for Inside Housing. Veterans often come out of the armed services either traumatised or institutionalised. It takes time…