Posted - 26 Aug 2009 : 12:51:20
| Free money, sorry I mean Grants are available to help you improve your home and save you money in the long term.
• Get environmental: Energy Saving Trust grant finder
This is one of the main areas to grab cash at the moment as we are encouraged to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Installing energy-saving heating and insulation will make your house warmer and save you money; an average saving of up to £200 per year can be made.
The Government, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants to help you implement energy saving measures. The best place to start is the Government's Energy Saving Trust (EST) which lists most of these grants in one place. Just use its energy saving grant search tool or call 0800 512 012. Everyone should try this!
For example, one of the main schemes in England is called Warm Front, which gives up to £3,500 to homeowners or those who rent from a private landlord and receive certain benefits. You can find out if you are eligible on the Warm Front website or by calling free on 0800 316 2805.
Other home energy grants are available, such as the Heat Project from Enact Energy, which provides grants for loft and cavity wall insulation to all homeowners and private tenants, and people on an income or disability related benefit can have these insulation measures installed for free. Big savings are also available by ensuring you’re using the cheapest energy supplier so read the Gas & Electricity cost cutting article too.
• Improve your home
If you are elderly, disabled or on a low income your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA) may help you to repair, improve, maintain or adapt your home. There are around 300 not for profit, locally based HIAs around the country, that can help in varying ways. Assistance can include putting together flat pack furniture or looking after your garden. Search for your nearest on the Foundations website.
Alternatively the grant search from independent charity Turn2us helps you check for any charities that might be able to help with things like furniture, decorating or bills and household expenses. The grants usually depend on an individual's circumstances, maybe any illnesses or their nationality, occupation, age or income.
• Feel safer in your home
Help the Aged run a free home support scheme for those over 60 with less than £20,000 in savings, to help people feel safer in their homes. This can include installing security equipment, changing locks on doors and windows, and fitting smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
The scheme is called Handy Van and runs in 35 areas around the UK. To see if it can help call 0845 026 1055, send an mail or complete the online form.
• If you’re disabled
A Disabled Facilities Grant is available from your local council to help towards the cost of adapting your home if you, or someone living in your property, is disabled. The grant is for work that is essential to help a disabled person live an independent life.
Contact the council’s housing or environmental health department and ask them to send you an application form before you start work - if work begins before the council's approved your application you won't normally get anything.
To find your local council’s details enter your postcode in the DirectGov website.
• Help with utility arrears
As well as grants to make your home more energy efficient some utility companies also offer them to help if you have large arrears on your gas, electricity or water bills. You'll need to be a customer of the company so if yours is not listed contact it to see if it has a similar scheme.
Gas & Electricity: Schemes are offered by British Gas Energy Trust, EDF Energy Trust, Npower First Step
Water: The Water UK website has info on all the water company schemes.
• Local council grants
There may also be other grants for your home available from your local council. As councils can offer different funding, search for details on its website or contact them to ask for more information. To find your local council’s details enter your postcode in the DirectGov website.
Living Over The Shop Scheme (LOTS)
LOTS was introduced throughout the UK & Ireland, to secure investment to tackle the problem of vacant storey space over commercial premises in certain streets and, in so doing
• provide additional residential units in areas suitable and attractive for such development;
• achieve greater economic use of such premises with a view to relieving the pressure on housing supply, particularly for rented residential accommodation,
• promote sustainable development patterns and assist in fostering a living urban environment in certain designated streets, and
promote more sustainable use of existing building stock and infrastructure and relieve pressure for greenfield development.
Here is a link to a BBC news report on LOTS –
Designations under the scheme were made on the basis of proposals from relevant local authorities. If you want to find out more about LOTS google “living over the shops in (your local area)”
Hope this helps