Cost of Living Support

sad dog worried about money

It is a scary time with high living expenses but luckily there is a lot of support available:

Local Support

There is a lot of support available in all our communities. To be signposted to help we suggest contacting the following:

Citizen Advice West Berkshire

Vale Community Impact advice centre for the Vale of the White Horse.

West Berkshire Council’s cost of living resource guide.

Newbury Building Society is offering support & advice for mortgage customers who are struggling to pay their mortgages. They have also donated £20,000 to West Berkshire FoodBank, Town & Manor of Hungerford’s Cost of Living fund and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire. And they have a lot of information on their website about how to reduce your household expenses.

Oxfordshire County Council help with rising living costs.

Your local town or parish council – see contact details here: Hungerford area; Lambourn Valley; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton & Downlands area; Burghfield area; Wantage area; and Marlborough area.

 

How to reduce your energy usage

The main ways to reduce your fuel bill are to:

  • stop using the tumble drier
  • have shorter showers and in general reduce use of hot water
  • insulate and draughtproof your home as much as possible
  • focus on heating your body instead of the building by wearing a few more layers and if possible keeping active and then you might be able to turn your thermostat down
  • reduce kettle use by keeping excess hot water in a thermos flask
  • think about how long your water boiler is on for. Some people have it on for one hour morning and evening at a temperature of 60 degrees (no lower, due to risk of Legionnaire’s Disease)

Newbury Building Society’s 40 useful tips to save fuel and energy

BBC guide to reducing energy bills

Sust-it Electricity Cost Calculator – find out what your appliances cost to run

Energy Support & Advice facebook group

Energy Saving Tips from Sustainable Wantage that cost from £0 to over £50

Home Energy Improvement advice from Hungerford Environmental Action Team:

  • get a smart meter so you can see what you are using in real time
  • get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – you must have one to rent or sell a home – which costs about £80 for a professional assessor to guage how energy efficient your home is and recommendations for improving the performance of your home. Look at epcregister.com to see if your home already has an EPC and how you compare to your neighbours
  • use a thermal imaging camera to see where the heat is escaping from your home and insulate where heat is being lost
  • roof/loft insulation is the first priority, then walls
  • curtains over doors help keep heat in
  • block any gaps under doorways or gaps in brickwork (eg around pipes) as draughts blow cold air into your homw and the  heated air out
  • keep your thermostat down, and have separate controls on individual radiators so you don’t heat rooms that aren’t being used
  • the bigger difference in temperature between inside and outside a room, the faster the heat loss will be
  • nearly a foot of insulation required in lofts and don’t forget about the hatches and the seal around them
  • heating and hot water account for 80% energy use in the home – but lighting and cooking also important
  • a lot of heat in the house comes from the sun through windows
  • solar panels installation are in short supply at the moment but don’t panic or get pressured by an unreputable installers as panels won’t generate a lot of energy until April
  • if your house is well insulated, your gas or oil boiler can be replaced by air source heat pumps and grants are available

Lots more of advice on retrofitting your home to make it more energy efficient from Hungerford Environmental Action Team’s youtube channel.

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Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale