A Blackburn charity could save more than £20,000 a year in energy costs thanks to a local college's sustainability expert's help.

Nightsafe - which provides help for 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of homelessness - has annual energy bills of around £1.3 million, with Nelson and Colne College's Dr Steve Wright hoping to help slash them.

The charity runs six housing projects across Blackburn with Darwen, with high utility bills putting a major strain on its finances.

Nightsafe provides 12,000 safe nights off the street a year for the borough's youngsters and demand is ever-increasing amid the cost of living crisis.

Dr Wright, a chartered engineer, said: “One site has catastrophic power bills – a combination of being on all-electric heating, having a gas boiler for water heating that doesn’t work reliably, and being on a lousy tariff. "

Dr Wright believes he can achieve cost savings of "more than 40 per cent" at that particular site.

He added: "Most of the housing projects are running moderately efficient heating systems that would benefit from better control. 

"For two of them, I believe we can make savings in excess of 10 per cent.”

From September, Dr Wright will helm the nation's first undergraduate programme in sustainable technologies.

The potential savings are just one aspect of an ongoing two-year relationship between Nelson and Colne College and Nightsafe with an aim to also reduce carbon emissions.

Nicola Roscoe, Nightsafe operations manager, said: "Our energy costs are by far one of the biggest outgoings for the charity.

"To hear that we could potentially make a 40 per cent saving at one site is incredible.

"Having someone like Steve with the expertise and helicopter view of where savings can be made will make the world of difference to Nightsafe and allow us to offset some of our estimated £280,000 deficit this year and enable us to focus more on the young people we support."