From Rosita Page

Hundreds of households across Leicestershire could benefit from tailored help and advice about energy efficiency improvements, and how to access grants and funding to pay for their installation.County residents are now being invited to apply at  www.leicestershire.gov.uk/retrofit.Leicestershire County Council’s Warm Homes service, in partnership with district authorities, has been awarded £400,000 by the government to support the HERO project (Home Energy Retrofit Offer), to connect eligible people to advice and funding for the installation of energy efficiency improvements, which will reduce energy costs as well as making households warmer and greener.The HERO project targets owner-occupiers who are vulnerable and on low incomes who may be eligible for funded grants, those at risk of ill health due to cold, inefficient, or damp homes, and residents living in hard-to-treat properties.Eligible residents may be offered in-home advice or assessment of their homes, which will determine which energy-efficient measures are most appropriate to the home and household.The project also aims to support households by providing knowledge and confidence on what steps can improve home energy efficiency and connect them to financial support.The scheme will not fund the retrofit of the recommended energy-saving measures, but HERO advisors will help and support residents to access all available funding and apply for relevant grants. Where relevant, the scheme may also reassess eligible homes to measure the impact of improvements and contact households to gather feedback.Last year, the Warm Homes service supported Charnwood resident Laura through the Green Living Leicestershire Home Energy Grant to receive fully-funded loft and cavity wall insulation.She said: “I was struggling to afford to heat my home. I applied for the scheme and qualified for cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. Without the scheme, I would not have been able to afford the work at all.“The installation process was very quick and easy, and I am very pleased with the results. I have noticed that I have needed my heating on less since having the work done, and my home feels warmer too.”Colin, a resident in Blaby, was also supported through last year’s scheme, receiving loft insulation and ventilation improvements.He said: “The home certainly seems warmer, and the bathroom no longer fills with condensation when having a shower. My advice to anyone who is thinking about getting involved would be to do it.”Edward, another Charnwood resident, received external wall insulation for his solid wall home. He said: “The installation is great, and the workers were brilliant. I do feel that when I use the heating the warmth stays longer after turning it off.“The installation didn’t disturb my working day, and I was delighted by how good it looked. I would encourage people to apply – it’s worth it.”The HERO scheme will host and attend events across Leicestershire to promote household retrofit of energy efficiency measures, working with local building societies to showcase a ‘retrofit dolls house’ which will help residents to visualise the types of improvements possible.The scheme will also link with health and housing partners to provide wider access to information about retrofit, grants, financial options and enable residents to visit demonstrator homes to witness new technologies.The HERO scheme aims to improve the energy efficiency of owner-occupier and private rental households most in need of support, reduce energy bills and tackle climate change. It follows on from previous successful funding bids delivered through the Warm Homes service and Green Living Leicestershire partnership, including the Home Upgrade Grant, Green Homes Grant, Warm Homes Fund and Sustainable Warmth Competition.It is delivered through Green Living Leicestershire, a partnership between Leicestershire authorities who work collectively to deliver projects supporting sustainability and net zero across the county. Funding for the HERO project has been awarded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and administered through the Midlands Net Zero Hub’s Local Energy Advice Demonstrator.Councillor Louise Richardson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The Home Energy Retrofit Offer is another valuable scheme which will help residents with the cost of living by offering help and advice about the most suitable energy efficient measures to help cut their fuel bills, and access to grant funding to install those measures. It will also help to reduce carbon emissions, as well as protect people from the health risks associated with cold and damp homes.“I would urge all Leicestershire residents who think they might be eligible to visit the website and register their interest in the HERO scheme.”For more information on the grants, including the full eligibility criteria, and eligible postcode areas or to apply, visit  www.leicestershire.gov.uk/retrofit or call the Warm Homes service on 0116 305 2524