A HOUSING association says a free advice service has helped thousands of elderly people in supported housing improve their incomes.

Hanover Housing, which has a number of sheltered accommodation sites in Swindon, including Hanover Court, provides the Be Wise service to give residents free advice on managing their homes and their finances.

Launched in 2012 it carries out individual assessments and gives out practical guidance to reduce everyday costs, such as avoiding high energy bills or switching over to Universal Credit, and claiming personal independence payments.

The housing association says it has saved thousands of its residents in the UK a total of almost £10 million through the service.

Service development manager Cressida Stanley-Williams said: “We are rightly proud to have assisted residents with their budgeting and savings, helping to deliver an amazing £9.8 million so far.

“This shows Hanover’s commitment to improving the overall wellbeing of residents and helps ensure we go above and beyond just a bricks and mortar level of service. Be Wise continues to achieve great success in offering tangible changes and provides additional security for many residents who want to continue living as independently as possible in their homes.

She said: “Anything we can do to help them achieve that is a reward in itself, especially if it allows them to remain connected to their local community.”

Over the past six years the housing association has provided assistance to some 5340 residents and has held 238 events across England. The team also handles daily telephone, letter, email and Skype enquiries.

People have saved an average £130 in energy costs and the Money Wise branch of the service has helped 850 people save an average of £4,120 a year.

Hanover hopes to spread the Be Wise service across the organisation’s 600 retirement and supported living estates.