Telford & Wrekin Council and Just Credit Union have joined forces to launch a loan scheme which can help residents make their homes safer and more energy efficient and reduce their bills long term.
The Better Homes Loan will enable homeowners to access loans from £300 to £8,000 to top up their loft insulation, install more energy efficient boilers or make other changes to improve their properties, depending on eligibility.
In addition, the loan can also be used to help bring empty properties across the borough back into use through a series of improvements.
Telford & Wrekin Council will continue to work with households identified as being in ‘fuel poverty’ and other residents in the borough first to see if they are eligible for free funding which enables work to be carried out.
Funding support includes the LAD (Local Authority Delivery) scheme which targets households on low incomes or those with low energy performance ratings to make their homes more energy efficient and the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG).
HUG is funding for local authorities to improve the energy performance and heating systems of ‘off gas grid’ homes in England. More information can be found here or via the Telford Energy Advice (TEA) service on 0800 677 1952 or email [email protected]
However, homeowners who fall outside the eligibility criteria may need to fund essential improvements to make their homes safer and more efficient but can’t afford the repairs which is where the loan could be useful.
Landlords who want to make sure their properties meet the required standards but need extra financial support to do so can also benefit from the loan.
Energy Efficiency measures which can be installed or purchased as the result of a successful loan application include wall, attic, or floor insulation, window and door upgrades or replacements, boiler upgrades, heat pumps, solar water heaters and solar panels.
Essential improvements to improve safety in the home through the loan include kitchen, bathrooms and toilet installations, heating systems, doors, windows, roofing, water proofing and damp treatments.
Just Credit Union is a responsible lender who will only lend residents what they can afford to repay so all loans are subject to status and based on an applicant’s ability to afford the repayments.
Anyone who wishes to apply for a loan will need to be aged 18-65, be eligible to join Just Credit Union if they are not already a member, and have a minimum income of £125 per week. A loan calculator on the website can help residents work out how much they are able to borrow.
Karen Farrow, Chief Officer at Just Credit Union, said: “As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Just Credit Union exists to raise the standard of living and better the lifestyle of our members.
“We are delighted to be working with Telford & Wrekin Council to offer these loans which will give residents across the borough the opportunity to spread the cost of improving their homes and reducing their energy bills.”
Ongoing initiatives and further planned activities to support residents through the energy crisis are highlighted in Telford & Wrekin Council’s Affordable Warmth Strategy.
Through the strategy, which was launched in April 2021, the council aims to reduce the number of fuel poor households and address inequalities by targeting those areas of the borough with the highest levels of fuel poverty.
It also aims to ensure residents live in a warm and comfortable home and recognizes that poor quality housing can negatively affect health and wellbeing with excess cold impacting on all age groups in different ways within the home
Councillor Richard Overton (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Enforcement and Transport said: “First and foremost, we are continuing to work with residents across the borough who are experiencing fuel poverty or have low energy performance ratings – helping them to access funding for improvement work through a variety of initiatives.
“However, not all households fall within the eligibility criteria for this funding so the launch of the Better Homes Loan is another option which homeowners and landlords may want to consider to improve energy efficiency and safety within their homes.
“Although having work completed comes at a cost initially through the loan, making a variety of property and energy improvements can make homes much safer places to live and reduce energy bills significantly in the short and long term.”
You can find out more about the Better Homes Loan and whether you’re eligible here.
To find out more about the loan, please contact Just Credit Union on 01743 252325 or email [email protected]