A rural East Lancashire borough is offering grants help low-income households and first-time buyers beat the cold and damp.

The cash from Ribble Valley Council is for upgrading homes and heating.

The authority’s first-time buyer grant offers new homeowners up to £15,000 to renovate their property and make it more energy-efficient.

If you live in a cold and damp home in Ribble Valley, borough cash is also available for the servicing, repair and replacement of boilers, radiators and heating appliances.

The first-time buyer grant helps people currently purchasing a property, or who have bought a house within the last two years, make it more energy-efficient or address significant disrepair.

Properties must be located in Ribble Valley and more than 10-years-old, in council tax bands A to C, with an energy performance certificate of D to H.

Applicants must be a first-time buyer aged 18 or over, with a Ribble Valley connection and income under £60,000, or combined household income under £80,000, and intend occupying the property as their main residence.

The grants will cover 50 per cent of the cost of the works up to a maximum of £15,000 and works already underway or completed will not qualify.

The council’s separate affordable warmth fund helps low-income households in receipt of means-tested benefits, or with a total gross household income of less than £31,000, and with vulnerable members - such as the over-65s, under-fives and pregnant women, those with cardiovascular and respiratory problems, a disability or mental health condition - stay warm.

Up to £4,000 per property is available for as long as funds last for the servicing, repair and replacement of boilers, the purchase of oil-filled heaters and dehumidifiers, or dedicated home energy assessments by the Home Improvement Agency.

Councillor Stuart Hirst, chair of Ribble Valley Council’s health and housing committee, said: “We have the highest house price to income ratio in Lancashire and one of the highest in England.

"This funding is enabling local first-time buyers purchase properties, albeit in need of renovation, ensuring they can live in the borough, which is crucial to the future viability of our communities.

“As well as tackling the borough’s lack of affordable housing, improving the health and wellbeing of local people is also one of our key priorities and our affordable warmth fund aims to help vulnerable households stay warm.

“Ribble Valley has a high number of rurally-isolated, single-skin properties and we are delighted to offer this much-needed help to people living in cold homes.”