A housing association has invested more than £3million to retrofit 90 homes across Abbeytown and Oughterside to improve their energy efficiency.

This has been carried out by Home Group as part of a government-backed initiative.

Residents saw their old-fashioned fuel systems replaced with modern heat pumps, solar panels were fitted, and new facilities including windows and doors were installed.

Queenie Fearon, one of the residents who benefitted from the upgrade, said: “I’ll be honest, at first I was really concerned about the cost, because with the old system I knew how to work my bills out.

“But I found my bills are excellent. If you know how to work the system, the houses are so well insulated that it shouldn’t cost a lot.

News and Star: Queenie Fearon is one of the residents who benefitted from the upgrade

“I’m comfortable with the new system because I understand it. I just said to Home Group ‘I’m nearly 70 and I’ve got autism; I’ve got disabilities, but I need to understand what you’re doing for me’.

“When you live alone and don’t have close family, and you’ve got a disability, and there’s big changes it is very invasive. So, to have someone go through everything and have the patience to clearly explain it, and then to have the book that I can refer to and work it out from, has made such a big difference.”

She said she cleared two big debts this year which has brought a positive affect to her mental health, adding that having a warm and comfortable home also made a difference.

The investment comes at a time when many are struggling due to the increasing cost of living.

Hannah Howard-Jones, director of Asset Management at Home Group, said: “National research has shown that one of the biggest barriers to embracing green technologies is the lack of information and support available to residents.

“As our retrofit project in Abbeytown and Oughterside has shown, not only are customers making huge energy savings and living in warmer, more comfortable homes, active engagement and involvement is essential for them to understand and embrace these new technologies.

"This is fundamental to the success of this and future projects.”