Home Group customer Queenie Fearon stood outside her retrofitted home

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Cumbria residents warmer and quids in thanks to major home refurb

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts, PR and media advisor

Residents in Abbeytown and Oughterside have found themselves with more money in their pockets and a warmer home after upgrades were made to their properties.

Housing association Home Group invested over £3m to retrofit 90 homes across the towns as part of a government-backed project, significantly improving their energy efficiency.

Old-style fuel systems were replaced with modern heat pumps, solar panels were fitted, and new windows and doors installed, among a range of other things.

The outcome of this work has seen customers like Queenie Fearon benefitting from much needed savings in their energy bills.

Queenie said: “I’ll be honest, at first I was really concerned about the cost, because with the old system I knew how to work my bills out.

“But I found my bills are excellent. If you know how to work the system, the houses are so well insulated that it shouldn’t cost a lot.

“I’m comfortable with the new system because I understand it. I just said to Home Group ‘I’m nearly 70 and I’ve got autism; I’ve got disabilities, but I need to understand what you’re doing for me’.

“When you live alone and don’t have close family, and you’ve got a disability, and there’s big changes it is very invasive. So, to have someone go through everything and have the patience to clearly explain it, and then to have the book that I can refer to and work it out from, has made such a big difference.”

At a time when many are facing the prolonged cost of living crisis, the reduced bills and better insulated homes are going a long way to improving Home Group customers’ lives.

Queenie added: “For me, I’ve been able to clear two big debts this year. It’s helped my mental health.

“Earlier this year, I was mentally ill and down at my lowest, and just having a safe home that was warm and comfortable has made a big difference.”

Hannah Howard-Jones, Director of Asset Management at Home Group, said: “National research has shown that one of the biggest barriers to embracing green technologies is the lack of information and support available to residents.

“As our retrofit project in Abbeytown and Oughterside has shown, not only are customers making huge energy savings and living in warmer, more comfortable homes, active engagement and involvement is essential for them to understand and embrace these new technologies. This is fundamental to the success of this and future projects.”

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