A SOCIAL enterprise project which helps people to cut their fuel bills has been so successful in Widnes, it is now expanding nationwide, creating hundreds of new jobs.

The Energy Saving Fund, a not-for-profit organisation, started in 2008, employs 90 people and is about to recruit another 60 for a new call centre.

Based in Aston Dane House, Waterloo Road, it provides energy saving grants to help householders instal double glazing, boilers, solar panels and roofing improvements.

ESF has established its first regional base in Derby and plans a further 10 regional offices, including Belfast and Glasgow.

Its target is to fund £100m worth of energy saving home improvements every year.

Alan Holloway, aged 56, ESF trustee and head of procurement, said: “What is exciting is that we are encouraging skilled tradesmen to make quality products so we deliver them to people at the right price.

“We fund up to one third of the cost. Our role is to get from the factory straight to home owners.

“Our aim is to make a real difference to the hard-pressed communities of this country and create new jobs in the home improvement sector.”

The initiative has helped skilled craftsmen in Widnes and Runcorn create jobs as demand for home improvements has increased.

Mr Holloway, a business development coach and business adviser, married with six grown-up children, said: “We’re not here to make a profit. Our aim is to make companies busier so they can take more people on.

“Roofers, electricians and window fitters from this area have all gained employment through the fund.

“We are increasing the quality of what is being fitted, stimulating business and creating employment.

“A lot of businesses have benefitted from what we have done.

“It’s all about jobs. I am confident we can create 1,000 jobs over the next five years.”