UK-wide initiative helps vulnerable residents keep warm this winter

A PIONEERING scheme to ensure some of the UK’s most vulnerable residents can heat their homes this winter is being backed by independent heating oil distributor WCF.

The Cold Weather Priority initiative enables heating oil distributors to identify and prioritise those most at risk during the winter months to help ensure they can heat their homes. This is particularly important when spells of cold weather can lead to supply shortages or periods of peak demand.

Customers aged 75 or over and those considered vulnerable can sign up to the free scheme, which was designed and introduced by the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), and delivered by its member oil distributors including WCF, which has supported the scheme since its launch.

WCF is part of the Cold Weather Priority initiative which prioritises heating oil deliveries for vulnerable people during the winter months

Jo Ritzema, who is Managing Director of WCF, said: “As one of the country’s largest independent oil distributors, we understand the detrimental impact cold weather can have on the elderly, especially those living in isolated rural communities. A lack of heating during the colder months can result in significant challenges, including potential health issues and risks.

“Initiatives such as the Cold Weather Priority scheme are vital in order to support those most at risk during the winter months and enable us to make our most vulnerable customers a priority for heating oil deliveries during the colder months. This avoids them running out of heating oil when they need it most and works alongside other schemes we have to help customers such as tank monitoring systems or automatic top-ups. The scheme operates free of charge and allows vulnerable customers to access priority deliveries at no extra cost.”

WCF operates four oil distribution businesses, Allan Stobart Lubricants and Fuels, WCF Chandlers, WCF Fuels North West, and WCF Fuels North East, which deliver fuel from 12 fuel storage depots in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Humberside, Yorkshire, Northumberland, Lancashire and Cumbria.

Jo Ritzema, Managing Director of WCF

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKIFDA, said: “With the onset of cold weather, taking care of the most vulnerable members of our society becomes imperative. That’s why we urge anyone aged 75 or above to sign up for UKIFDA’s Cold Weather Priority scheme. This initiative aims to identify individuals at risk and ensure they receive priority fuel deliveries, especially during extreme weather conditions or fuel shortages. This scheme has the potential to save lives and is entirely free for heating oil customers. To be included, customers need to contact their local UKIFDA member.”

As well as its fuel distribution business, WCF also operates a national mail order business from its HQ in Cumbria; eight WCF Pet & Equestrian retail stores; an e-commerce business; and three camping and glamping sites at Edinburgh, Northumberland and the Peak District. The part-employee-owned company has over 350 employee-owners working across more than 30 UK locations.

For more information about the Cold Weather Priority Initiative visit www.ukifda.org or contact your local heating oil distributor.

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