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Need help with your energy bills? CHESS project supports residents struggling to keep their homes warm

With the news that energy prices are set to rise for millions of households this spring, the Cambridgeshire Home Energy Support Service (CHESS) is on hand to help residents in Northern Cambridgeshire reduce their energy bills.

“This price hike has been announced at a time when families are already struggling to pay their heating bills, due to the effects of Covid-19,” explains PECT’s Health and Wellbeing Lead Karen Igho. “Our project team is here to offer a free and impartial service to help households find their way out of fuel debt.”

She continues: “We know the next few months are going to be particularly difficult for many people, and we want to help as many local residents as we can to cut costs and carbon. We encourage individuals to check-in with their friends and family and refer them to our service if they need support staying warm this winter.”

The CHESS project was launched by two local charities – PECT and Cambridgeshire ACRE – who have teamed up to help improve the health and wellbeing of households who are living with, or at risk of, fuel poverty.

Cold, damp housing has serious impacts on our health and wellbeing. It increases the risk of developing respiratory illnesses – such as Covid-19 – plus cases of strokes, heart attacks, pneumonia, and depression. Right now, the mental and physical health issues linked with fuel poverty are further exacerbated by the effects of the national pandemic and lockdown.

Over the Christmas period, Citizens Advice announced that 2.1 million households were behind on their energy bills, a rise of 600,000 compared with before the pandemic. So the team’s help is needed more than ever before.

The aim of the CHESS project is to help households cut their heating costs by offering free and impartial advice on accessing home improvement grants, fuel debt relief, switching energy supplier, signing up to the Priority Services Register and finding solutions to damp and condensation.

The project is funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, please visit www.energyredress.org.uk for more details.

For more information, freephone 0800 8021773, email warmhomes@pect.org.uk or visit www.pect.org.uk/warmhomes

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