ELDERLY people in South Gloucestershire are being invited to join a community oil scheme to help save money.

The project, run by the West of England Rural Network in South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and North Somerset, aims is to help combat fuel poverty.

The charity says pensioners struggling to pay for fuel is more of a prevalent problem in rural areas. It is offering 100 free memberships (normally £20) into the scheme. The offer is open to anyone living in the West of England who is over 70 and relies on oil for their heating and hot water.

Spokesman Jill Baker said: “Most members of the scheme save around £120 per year on their oil bills, with some local people saving hundreds of pounds. “In January members paid just 52.9 p per litre of oil (plus VAT).”

She added: “The community oil buying scheme aims to reduce the cost of heating and hot water for people in the West of England who depend on oil. “The scheme works by placing a single large order once a month, and negotiating with the all the local suppliers to get the best price.”

The free memberships are being funded by a surviving winter grant awarded by the Quartet Community Foundation.

Anyone interested in joining the scheme should visit www.wern.org.uk/oil or call Jill Baker on 01275 333701.