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Community interest company, Warm Zones has announced that 1,394 people across rural West Cheshire are living in warmer homes and are financially better off, thanks to its energy advice project.

The project entitled, ‘Fuelling Independence in Rural Areas’ kicked-off in October 2012, thanks to £40,000 funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust. It was created to provide comprehensive energy advice to the most vulnerable families and young people in rural areas of West Cheshire, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire Moorlands and Stafford. The service also provided vital support to the community’s elderly people, many of whom were referred by Alzheimer’s UK.

Since its establishment, the project has helped local people in a number of ways including benefits checks, energy efficiency, advice on managing finances and help accessing grants. As a result, residents have generated a combined total of £431,774 extra income, an average of over £300 per person.

Gail Harris, Advice Manager at Warm Zones, said: “This project has enabled us to reach some of the most vulnerable members of the local rural communities. Building on close links with other local agencies we have been able to offer a wide range of services to residents. Our core work of income maximisation, grant applications and energy efficiency measures has increased the income of many residents, helped reduce their energy bills and ensured that they have warmer homes.”

Ann Loughrey, Company Secretary and Trustee of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, said: “Warm Zones is a well-respected and well-established organisation that has helped vulnerable communities across the UK with essential energy advice and support. Thanks to funding from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, they have been able to complete the West Chester project and help local people live in warmer homes. We are delighted to support this extremely worthwhile project.”

Friday, May 22, 2015