Residents struggling with energy costs urged to seek help through new scheme

A CAMPAIGN dedicated to helping struggling residents save money on their energy bills is encouraging the Barrow community to speak up and contact the free service if they require help.

Cold to Cosy Homes Cumbria is a free project focused on helping residents who are having difficulty with their cold and draughty houses to cut heating costs. 

As part of Big Energy Saving Week, which runs from January 18 to 24, Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) is working alongside local councils including Barrow Borough Council, to deliver free advice and energy saving equipment to householders. 

Since September, almost 60 households in Barrow have approached the free scheme for help and advice. However, CAfS and the council believe there are hundreds more households which require aid - especially as the coronavirus pandemic has led to many people being furloughed or working from home. 

Kim Kimberlee-Smith, a project officer at Cold to Cosy Homes, is urging Barrow residents who may be struggling to speak up rather than stay silent.

She said: “Since the project started this season in late September Cold to Cosy Homes have helped those who are facing large energy bills, or suffering from having a cold home, find the support they need with 57 households in the borough taking advantage of this free scheme.

“However we know that there are hundreds of households where we could make a difference and we would urge people to call us and get that advice.”

Residents can save money on their energy bills through simple measures like LED light bulbs, draught-proofing and radiator reflectors, all offered free of charge through the scheme. 

Councillor Kevin Hamilton, Barrow Borough Council’s spokesperson for housing explained that it was important to raise awareness about the project, especially during these cold months. 

He said: “With many more people working from home it’s important they understand that they could be eligible for a free service. The weather has been extreme recently and residents might not be aware that they could save money on their energy bills.

“I’d really like to encourage people who are struggling to contact the Cold to Cosy Homes helpline and find out what positive changes they can make to their home. We want people to be safe and be cosy.” 

One resident who has taken advantage of the free service is a recently bereaved 53-year-old woman from the Barrow area who had suddenly seen her income drop and didn’t know where to turn to for help with her bills. She qualified for the scheme on her circumstances and was able to get advice, change her tariff, understand how to use her heating programmer to make heating more efficient and qualify for professionally installed draught-proofing. 

The woman was also put forward for income management support and put in touch with bereavement counsellors.  

Cold to Cosy Homes Cumbria is a service delivered by CAfS, with a network of trusted Cumbrian tradespeople carrying out the more substantial energy efficiency installations. It is funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme and partners include Local Energy Advice Partnership (or LEAP) and all the counties local authorities.

It is available to those who meet eligibility-based criteria on income, health and vulnerability, as well as those who are suffering from a recent bereavement. 

Apply for a free Cold to Cosy Homes advice call by emailing the team on or calling: 01768 216500.