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An energy task team in Renfrewshire is set to create local jobs while also offering a safety net to families facing fuel poverty, thanks to a £170,000 investment from the council’s tackling poverty fund.

Energy Advice Renfrewshire has successfully run as a trial since autumn 2014 – with more than £100,000 generated in energy savings for families – and is now set to continue thanks to the poverty fund boost.

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The team will also expand from having two energy advocates who help people get the best deal, to four, and will recruit six energy trainees.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Mark Macmillan, said: “Our fight against poverty continues, with our £6m tackling poverty fund now starting to make a difference to Renfrewshire families.

“Energy costs are a big part of any home’s expenses, and it’s a sad and harsh reality that some families often have to choose between heating and eating because they’ve been pushed to the brink. This team offers immediate help to families struggling to meet the costs of heating their home and helps households get the best possible deal.

“The fuel team’s trial was more successful than we could have hoped with a major saving of £110,000 generated across 455 households since September last year. I look forward to more local families benefitting from the team’s help thanks to the £170,000 investment from our tackling poverty fund.

“I am also pleased that as well as working to break the fuel poverty cycle, the investment will create new job opportunities.”

The team works with local families by helping to reduce their energy costs, getting them a fairer deal, offering fuel debt support, and making sure they receive any help they’re entitled to, like the Warm Home Discount.

The saving generated is an average of £242 saved across all families offered support

Residents are referred to the team from services like social work, advice works, housing, Families First, Home Energy Scotland, and from third sector organisations.

The energy team can be contacted at emu@renfrewshire.gov.uk