Now the kids have gone back to school, what better time than to look at how you can save a few pounds on your heating and electricity bills?

A new project has launched to help Salford residents save money, energy and the environment this Spring.  Telephone advice and support is available from a team of Groundwork Green Doctors, who Salford residents can call free Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 12pm on 0800 090 3638.

The Groundwork Green Doctors recently supported Grace, who had been furloughed over lockdown.  With her reduced income and small amount of benefits she has been struggling whilst also home schooling her son and using a lot more gas and electric. The Green Doctor was able to refer her to National Energy Action who were able to give her a £140 voucher for her gas due to missing out on the warm home discount. The Green Doctor gave her some advice on simple ways to reduce her energy bills such as turning the thermostat and radiator valves down to make her gas last longer on the meters and giving her some free energy saving small measures such as LED lightbulbs. The Green Doctor spoke to United Utilities with her, and got her water rates capped for this year’s and last year’s bill, which removed £459.31 off her debt immediately. We were then able to set up an affordable weekly direct debit which pays for her current water bill and something towards the debt. United Utilities have also put her on a payment match scheme so if Grace keeps up her fortnightly payments over the next few years, United Utilities will deduct a further £2,210 off her debt.

Grace said “Groundwork is a fantastic organisation, they are there to help, and the Green Doctor has helped me get through this latest cold spell and during lockdown which has been a huge relief during this difficult time and I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted.”

The GMCR Energy Savers project has been set up by Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR), a volunteer-led project which has installed community owned solar arrays on seven Salford Schools.  The energy saving initiative has been funded by Electricity North West and will be delivered by the Energyworks team, which is part of Groundwork Greater Manchester. 

Kate Eldridge, Director of GMCR said “Over the past 5 years we have been supporting schools in Salford to cut their energy bills and carbon footprints by having solar panels installed.  We started the GMCR Energy Savers project because we wanted to bring similar benefits to everyone in the community.”

Suzanne Barningham, Energyworks Manager at Groundwork Greater Manchester said “Last year we worked with more than 3,000 people who saved over £2 million between them by saving energy.  In 2021 you could be one of those people.  Our friendly team of Green Doctors is only a phone call away.”

Helen Seagrave, Community Energy Manager at Electricity North West, added: “The GMCR Energy Savers project will support families to become more efficient and achieve all the benefits that come with reducing the amount of energy that we consume.

“Our Empowering our Communities Fund takes applications from community groups across the North West who aim to tackle energy-related issues at a local level, especially those that want to reduce their carbon footprint.”

GMCR has installed community-owned solar panels on seven schools in Salford, a school in Bury and a community centre in Partington.  Over the life of the project the solar panels have generated enough electricity to make almost 37 million cups of tea, preventing 180 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and cutting energy bills at the schools and community centre by a total of £17,000.


Notes to the editor

1.  Groundwork is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment across the UK.  They’re passionate about creating a future where every neighbourhood is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny and no-one is held back by their background or circumstances.

Salford residents can call the Groundwork Energyworks team free on 0800 090 3638 for energy saving advice and support, and quote GMCR as a reference.

2. Greater Manchester Community Renewables Limited (GMCR) is a community benefit society, set up and run by volunteers to install community-owned renewable energy across Greater Manchester. It has 9 solar arrays, totalling c. 350 kWp capacity. For more information visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Electricity North West is the region’s electricity distribution network operator. They’re proud to power the lives of five million people in the North West. From heating homes to charging cars and streaming TV shows, they work around the clock to keep you switched on for today and tomorrow.

  • They’re investing £1.8bn from 2015-2023 in the overhead lines and underground cables that serve the region and last year delivered the best reliability ever seen in the North West.
  • In 2019, they launched their Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan, a specialist document which outlines how we plan to reduce carbon emissions in the region.
  • As part of the plan, they’ve also committed to invest £63.5m to drive down carbon emissions and help businesses, customers and colleagues do the same.
  • Electricity North West has become the first carbon literate distribution network operator and has committed to a carbon budget to meet zero carbon by 2038 for their own carbon emissions which will see 10% year on year decrease in emissions
  • Visit for more information and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. During a power cut or other emergency, check for updates online or call 105.