Press releases

How Can Six Cardboard Boxes Teach Youngsters how to Manage their Money?

The credit crunch, rising personal debts and financial insecurity mean that skills to understand finances are more important than ever.

Students from across the country are learning how to balance their budgets and figure out their finances at the Trading Standards Institute's (TSI) annual Conference in Brighton on Tuesday 30 June.

Six cardboard boxes that turn into characters called Arnie, Taran, Steve, Maya, Tania and Finley are part of an interactive workshop called Barclays Money Skills launched by trading standards and Barclays Bank plc.

The characters represent different stereotypical lifestyles

  • to highlight the difference between luxuries and necessities, and how these might change over time,
  • to examine bank statements and terminology used
  • look at credit scoring and how a bad one can affect their lives

The financial literacy initiative aims to teach over 9,000 16-25 year olds about budgeting and banking, affordable credit, illegal money lending and issues such as identity fraud and phishing scams.

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI, said: ‘Increasing young peoples' knowledge and understanding of money and finances will pay long-term dividends in the community. We are very pleased promote this by hosting Barclays Money Skills at our Conference, alongside our annual Young Consumers of the Year Competition and Consumer Challenge Quiz.’

Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer at West Yorkshire Trading Standards, where the initiative was developed, said: ‘Financial capability is high on the government agenda, both nationally and locally, and it is in everyone's interest that consumers are well informed and confident about making major financial decisions. We all know that better budgeting can help people to avoid problem debt and shopping around for suitable financial products can help us make the most of our income.

‘Barclays Money Skills not only helps young people develop that knowledge, but also builds confidence to take a greater responsibility for their financial affairs and to play a more active role in the financial services market.

‘As well as improving financial capability participants also develop important life skills such as confidence, team work, problem solving, leadership and communication all crucial in the world of work and enterprise.'

Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact:

Trading Standards Institute press office by phone on 08456 089 430 or by e-mail on

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Financial Inclusion Project Coordinator Lorna Richardson

Tel: 0113 3846 452, Mob: 07500 228073, Email:

Barclays Money Skills was developed by West Yorkshire Trading Standards in partnership with Barclays. Over the next two years, the initiative will be delivered to a wide number of groups including Sure Start Centres, Youth Offending Teams, Princes Trust groups, prisons, housing associations, young tenants and schools. Partners will include trading standards departments across the regions, community volunteers and Barclays employees, who will all support the delivery programme.

The initiative is currently only being delivered in the North of England

The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2009

The national Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2009, organised by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is a 'must' for consumer journalists!

The TSI-hosted annual Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe.

The 2009 Conference is being held at the Brighton Centre from Tuesday 30 June to Thursday 02 July. The conference press office will be open from 9am on Monday 29 June (the day before the event starts) until 5pm on Thursday 02 July.

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

The conference is hosted by TSI chairman Peter Denard and the main sponsor is the British Toy and Hobby Association.

Some 3,000 people are attending the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations. This makes it an ideal place for consumer affairs journalists to mingle and make contacts!

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.