New project uses theatrical plays to educate elderly on scams
The SAFER Project received a Hero Award at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's Conference in Bournemouth on Thursday 2 July for the significant contribution it made to consumer protection.
A separate Certificate of Commendation was awarded to The Feeling Good Theatre Company and the Princes Trust team as well as individual certificates for Carrie Wilson, Lanson Moore, Rebecca Finch and Angie Cawthra for their work on the SAFER Project.
The SAFER (Scams and Fraud Education for Residents) Project, part of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, has seen unprecedented success over the past two years raising awareness of scams, frauds and doorstep crime amongst older residents and arming them with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves.
The team successfully negotiated strategic partnership relationships with West Yorkshire Pharmacies, NatWest, Barclays and the Royal Mail to deliver training to 1,160 employees on the front line who are in the best position to spot vulnerable victims of fraud.
NatWest counter staff recognised the signs of fraud when dealing with an elderly Wakefield resident who had been sending money off to scam mail. Upon working closely with the individual, the SAFER Project discovered he had parted with £164k over four years to a bogus Spanish Lottery. The victim has not only been supported by the SAFER project, but was referred to the West Yorkshire Police Economic Crime Unit and is being offered ongoing support through the team’s established network of volunteers. The SAFER Project have organised more than 600 workshops, engaging with more than 6,100 of the most vulnerable members of the community to make them more scam aware.
Both The Feeling Good Theatre Company and the Princes Trust team were awarded a Certificate of Commendation for their huge contribution to the SAFER Project. The Princes Trust team in Dewsbury was the first group to help pilot the intergenerational scams and fraud awareness project and have since delivered their own educational workshop to a group of older, visually impaired people. For 15 years, The Feeling Good Theatre Company have put together professional witty and unique artistic performances which have helped educate and prevent many older potential victims from falling for scams.
CTSI chief executive Leon Livermore said: 'As the recent CTSI Workforce Survey shows, funding for trading standards services across England and Wales will decline on an average of more than 40% over the lifetime of this parliament. While we work toward a more consistent funding mechanism, The SAFER Project and its volunteer projects play a vital role in helping trading standards officers protect vulnerable members of the community.
“I am delighted to have presented the SAFER Project with a CTSI Hero Award, giving it well deserved national recognition both at the level of the individual volunteers and at the collective trading standards level.”
The Hero Award is a fantastic opportunity for CTSI to celebrate outstanding contributions by individuals or groups of people to consumer protection in our communities.