RESIDENTS and community groups are being given a helping hand to cut their energy bills following the launch of low carbon loans.

As previously reported by The Gazette, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s environment chief, Councillor Hayley Eachus, announced plans in January to set up a £500,000 fund for environmentally-friendly projects to improve buildings for community groups and homeowners.

The investment was part of a £1million Green Investment Fund set up by the local authority in April 2013 for green projects across Basingstoke that cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and protect the natural environment.

As part of the fund, the decision-making Cabinet agreed to set up a £100,000 revolving loan fund for projects to allow community groups to improve insulation, lighting, heating or to install renewable energy technology in community buildings in a bid to lower their energy bills.

A £250,000 loan scheme was also set up to provide low-cost loans for homeowners to carry out energy improvement projects in their homes.

The borough council is working with Parity Trust to offer low interest loans for energy efficiency improvements and the council wants to hear from any community organisations interested in making energy improvements to their community buildings under the scheme.

Council officers and representatives from Parity Trust, National Energy Foundation and Basingstoke Energy Co-operative will be on hand to give more information to community centres interested in making their building more energy efficient at Brookvale Village Hall from 7pm on June 3.

The team will be able to offer advice and support on areas such as:

• Low interest loans for energy efficiency improvements, subsidised by the council

• Renewable energy installation advice

• Training on how to improve the energy efficiency of the building.

Cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment, Councillor Hayley Eachus, said: “Finding the money to make energy saving improvements can be difficult and costly.

“By offering residents and community groups the opportunity to access a low interest loan to make the improvements, they can then save money on their energy bills and make their homes or community halls more comfortable, as well as reducing their carbon footprints.”

For more information on the scheme, or to apply for a loan, contact Parity Trust directly on 023 9237 5921 or visit