News item

Youngsters get Hero Award for innovative loan shark play

South Liverpool youngsters participating in an innovative and hard-hitting play warning about the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders are proving to be a true inspiration and very effective at spreading their core ‘loan shark danger’ message within the community.

Today (26 June) The efforts of the young people who designed and performed the free play to residents are now receiving national recognition with a Trading Standards Institute’s (TSI) Hero Award at TSI’s Conference in Manchester.

The production was part of an ongoing campaign by the England Money Lending Team, based at Birmingham City Council Trading Standards. The play was delivered by local Liverpool young people, all of whom had no experience in acting or performance. It was so popular that they were asked to put on a second performance; in total reaching 210 residents, who said they would pass on the key messages within their community. The young people learnt acting/singing/performing arts skills whilst also signing up to be the nation’s youngest-ever ‘Community Stop Loan Shark advocates’. 

The 'A loan in Liverpool' production was performed by 11 local young people from the South Liverpool
Homes (SLH) Junior Board in partnership with Attitude Drama School. It was organised by SLH and the England Illegal Money Lending Team, working in partnership with Liverpool Trading Standards. The performance took place at Parklands City Learning Centre. Feedback from the youngsters showed that taking part increased their confidence and esteem.

Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “This play has been developed into a DVD that’s on Youtube and been distributed across the North West. It was the forerunner to other performances (Salford and Bolton) and provided the inspiration for other agencies to get on board.”

The ‘Community Stop Loan Shark advocates’ initiative is part of the Stop Loan Sharks project (Incorporating the England Illegal Money Lending Team) funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and working in partnership with local Trading Standards offices. The South Liverpool initiative meant that materials warning about loan sharks were sent to all of South Liverpool’s 2,000 housing tenants. Nine youngsters took part in the community advocate training delivered by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (the youngest advocates recruited so far).

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said: “The Trading Standards Institute’s Hero Award is an annual scheme that celebrates outstanding local contributions to consumer protection and the protection of individuals.
“We look for individuals or groups who have gone over and beyond the call of duty to help support and protect other consumers. 
“The Hero Awards have been running since 2005 and the nominations we receive are truly inspiring - the awards ceremony is always a Conference highlight.”

DATE:26 June 2012

Notes for Editors:

The awards ceremony is at Manchester Central on Tuesday 26 June at 12.15pm.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team is based at Birmingham City Council Trading Standards but covers and investigates illegal money lenders across the whole of England.

The Stop Loan Sharks project is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and works in partnership with local Trading Standards offices. The project has so far secured more than 210 prosecutions for illegal money lending. Loan sharking is a criminal offence. Illegal money lenders operate without a licence, often targeting vulnerable people.

To report a loan shark:

         Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
         Private message us on
         Log-on to

For further information, to attend the ceremony or to arrange an interview please contact the Trading Standards Institute press officer Irja Howie on 07780675815 or by e-mail on

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.

The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2012
The Trading Standards Institute’s annual trading standards and consumer affairs Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe. The 2012 Conference is at Manchester Central from Tuesday 26 June to Thursday 28 June.

Some 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations.

Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend but should contact the press office on 0845 608 9430 to arrange passes.