CHESS project supports households struggling to pay their energy bills.

Do you know someone who is struggling to pay their heating bills? Have you checked that your family and friends are managing to stay warm this winter? The newly launched Cambridgeshire Home Energy Support Service (CHESS) is on hand to help residents in East Cambridgeshire with their energy bills.

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented time of anxiety, financial instability, and feelings of isolation. Two local charities, PECT and Cambridgeshire ACRE, have teamed up to help improve the health and wellbeing of households who are suffering from, 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 health issues linked with fuel poverty are further exacerbated by COVID-19, putting an additional 200,000 households at risk.

Stuart Dawks, Director of Operations at PECT comments: “We feel that the CHESS project will make a real difference to households who have fallen into fuel debt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 through this service.”

The aim of the project is to help households cut their heating costs by offering free 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.

Kirsten Bennett Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire ACRE said “As part of this project we hope to recruit local volunteers to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the scheme within our communities, helping us to identity people in need of this support and advice.  Please consider supporting the CHESS project by volunteering to promote this scheme and refer people to us for the support they may desperately need.”

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

If you would like to support the CHESS project, and protect vulnerable households, we are currently recruiting volunteers to help identify households in need. For more information, contact 01353 865048, email enquiries@cambsacre.org.uk or visit www.pect.org.uk/warmhomes