Suffolk Trading Standards celebrated the outstanding contributions of two Suffolk Consumer Champions in their fight against scams and rogue traders in their communities.
Consumer Champion Award Winner 2016 - Carole Brason
Carole is one of our Consumer Champions from Rendlesham in Suffolk. Her late mother was a victim of scam mail and she bravely spoke with Mark Murphy on the BBC Radio Breakfast show and at the conference about her story. Carole has been dedicated to helping her vulnerable neighbour who is also a victim of scams. After meeting Steve Smith, the inventor of the TrueCall device at last year’s Join the Fight conference, she arranged a call blocking device for her neighbour to reduce the number of scam calls he receives. She managed to persuade him to have all of his scam mail re-directed to her home address where she sorts the genuine mail from the significant quantity of scam mail he receives. As well as devoting a significant amount of her time to help her neighbour, she is an active consumer champion, making sure that she does all she can to raise awareness of scams in her local community. She regularly passes on relevant information to the over 60’s clubs, youth clubs and local businesses. Carole also writes a monthly ‘Consumer Corner’ article for the parish newsletter which is distributed to over 1500 homes in her community. She also suggested to Suffolk Trading Standards that we put together a folder of known scam letters to show to victims, which we did, and regularly now use when visiting the homes of scam victims.
Consumer Champion Certificate of Recognition 2016 - Gill Bishop
Gill works for Home Instead Senior Care. Her role involves reaching out to the local community to create awareness for their home care services, and finding services and organisations that could be of benefit to their clients, their families and the team of caregivers (carers).
One of Gill’s initiatives is to give free public talks to raise awareness about scams, having been deeply moved by Marilyn Baldwin speaking about her ‘Think Jessica’ campaign at our 2015 conference.
Gill felt she was ideally placed to reach out to the community and, utilising a scam protection toolkit, took the initiative out into the community. Gill has liaised with the police and trading standards and has put together a scam awareness talk, which was “to the point” but delivered by Gill in a way that could be understood by elderly people and not alarm them unnecessarily.
Gill keeps up to date to understand any new scams that are appearing, so that the talk can always be up to date. At the outset Gill created demand for the talks by reaching out to organisations and groups who she felt may be interested – now organisations approach Home Instead Senior Care requesting Gill to make a talk about being scam aware. Since starting this initiative three years ago, Gill has presented to more than 3,000 local people.
Many congratulations to both our award winners. We hope that their stories will inspire you to join the fight. Find out more about becoming a consumer champion.