Cumbrian firm’s continued support for Winter Warmth Appeal

Cumbrian firm’s continued support for Winter Warmth Appeal

A CUMBRIAN-based business has pledged its support for a sixth consecutive year to a charity which helps people facing fuel poverty.

Since 2018, WCF has donated more than £50,000 to the Winter Warmth Appeal operated by Cumbria Community Foundation, which supports vulnerable older people in Cumbria who are at risk during the colder winter months because they cannot afford to heat their homes. The part employee-owned firm, which operates across the UK in the retail, logistics and leisure sectors, is backing the appeal as part of its ethos to give back to local communities. WCF supports good causes throughout Cumbria and across the UK including animal rescue charities, the Air Ambulance, Wildlife Trusts, and youth organisations.

WCF Jo Ritzema

Jo Ritzema, Managing Director of Brampton-based WCF, said: “We put our team and the rural communities in which they live and work at the heart of our business, and take their lead to provide long-standing support to the charities and organisations which are important to them, as well as supporting their own fund-raising activities in any way we can, such as doubling any money they raise for charity.

“With the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills, it’s never been more important to support those who cannot afford to heat their homes this winter and are at risk as a result. I would urge anyone who is able to get behind the Winter Warmth campaign and make a real difference to people’s lives in Cumbria"

Last year, the Winter Warmth Appeal raised £661,908, the highest total since it was launched in 2010. The record-breaking year enabled the fund to make 2,413 grants which benefited more than 3,223 people. 

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: "It’s well known that colder weather exacerbates respiratory and circulatory diseases. Many local older people are at risk and even die because of the combined effects of fuel poverty and social isolation.

"WCF’s continued support of our Winter Warmth Appeal is fantastic. Donations are so vital in a year that has seen even more people plunged into fuel poverty because of the rising energy prices and the continuing cost of living crisis. We are being told by our delivery partners at Age UK just how desperate a situation it is for people who are being forced to choose whether they eat or heat their homes. All districts in Cumbria have a higher proportion of households living in fuel poverty than the national average, with over 33,000 households suffering. Sadly, it is our older population that is more at risk.”

Last year, as a Winter Warmth Match Fund Champion, WCF doubled its donation to the Winter Warmth Appeal to £15,000 and has pledged the same this year. In total, the firm has donated £52,000 since 2018. 

The company, which has over 350 employee-owners working across 30 UK locations, operates a national mail order business, based from its Brampton HQ; eight WCF Pet & Equestrian retail stores including five in Cumbria; an e-commerce business; three camping and glamping sites; and an oil distribution business including Allan Stobart Lubricants and Fuels and WCF Fuels North West which supply customers in Cumbria with bulk heating oil.

WCF Head Office

Jo added: “As one of Cumbria’s largest oil distributors, we understand the isolation of rural communities, especially during the winter months, which is why we make our most vulnerable customers a priority for heating oil deliveries during cold weather conditions.”

Customers aged 75 or over can sign up to the free Cold Weather Priority scheme which enables heating oil distributors to identify and prioritise those most at risk, especially during cold weather. The initiative is operated by the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), of which WCF is a member. For more information contact Allan Stobart Fuels on 016974 76575.

Donations can be made to the Winter Warmth Appeal at For more information on corporate sponsorship call 01900 825760 or