Households across Suffolk could save on their energy bills and enjoy warmer homes thanks to a new £1.3million countywide project.

It is estimated the scheme could see £50m of work carried out to homes and generate combined potential savings for householders of nearly £4.8m.

Suffolk's Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) - which includes all the councils in the county - have agreed funding to create a new Fuel Poverty Retrofit Team as part of the Warm Homes Suffolk scheme, helping those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

More than 62,000 properties in the county are thought to have the worst Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) of E, F or G. And an estimated 28% of homes - 95,000 households – are in fuel poverty, almost double the number in 2019.

Alongside existing funding, the team will cost £1,296,000 over three years.

Measures could include the installation of insulation, fitting air source heat pumps and replacing single glazing.

Suzie Morley, chair of SPSL and leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "We are determined to do everything we can to support people through these difficult times. The creation of this new team will have a meaningful, long-term impact for many households across Suffolk.

"We acknowledge this is a big job and it will take time, but it is a positive step forward. Making more homes energy efficient will lower bills, keep people warm and reduce carbon emissions."

The new team will help secure funding, develop a pipeline of work and ensure the most vulnerable households benefit, and also enforce minimum standards for the private rental sector, create a loan fund for those who are just above the financial eligibility cap, and support the installer supply chain.

People can get help from Warm Homes Suffolk if their gross household income is less than £30,000.

Andy Drummond, chair of the Suffolk Environment Cabinet Members group, said: “The new Fuel Poverty Retrofit Team is a proactive approach: retrofitting the most energy-inefficient homes to be better insulated, so that costs for households can be reduced long term through lower bills, warmer homes and better health.

“This money is a huge boost to Warm Homes Suffolk and is going to make a big difference to hundreds of residents across Suffolk."

More details about eligibility can be found on the Warm Home Suffolk website, or by calling 03456 037 686.

How one Suffolk family was helped by Warm Homes

Laura, 35, from Ipswich lives with her two girls aged seven and two following the loss of her husband to illness in January this year. Laura and her husband had purchased the property during lockdown. They were aware it would need work but had not anticipated the scale of the damp and cold that would make the house inhabitable.

With a hole in the roof and no cavity walls, even with the heating on high the mould in the children’s rooms was so bad that Laura would move back to her parents’ house with the girls if it was cold or raining outside. The family had stretched themselves to purchase the property, leaving them unable to complete the essential work. When Laura’s husband passed away, she needed more than ever to turn the house into a safe and warm home for her children and so contacted the Suffolk Warm Homes team for help.

Family and friends helped her fix the hole in the roof, and two weeks later Romain and his team of retrofit contractors were able to provide external wall and loft insulation that has completely transformed the house and dramatically improved its external aesthetic.

Laura said “The six weeks Romain and his team of installers were with us has changed my life, given me hope for the future, and has made me proud of our country’s welfare system. The work has been fantastic, I would encourage anyone that is struggling with a cold or damp home to get in touch with Suffolk Warm Homes.”