Press releases

Manchester teenager's Flick and Stick design wins trip to House of Lords

A young toy designer who won a national award at the Trading Standards Institute’s (TSI) conference enjoyed a grand lunch and awards ceremony in her honour at the House of Lords today, hosted by TSI’s president Baroness Crawley.

The clever creativity of Amber Hainey from Walkden, in Manchester, was rewarded with the top prize of the Playsafe competition, run by TSI and sponsored by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), which invites children aged six to 17 to design a safe toy on paper.
Amber’s winning brainchild is a velcro vest and helmet toy called Flick & Stick – it comes with an arm sleeve stuffed with woolly balls.  The two players throw the soft balls at each other aiming for the targets printed on the outfits –the one ending up with the most points wins!

Flick & Stick not only came top in the 12 – 17 year-olds category but was also overall winner of the entire competition, beating off more than 500 entries.

The 14-year-old, who was on her first trip to London, was almost speechless at the grandeur of the event.
Amber said:  ‘I didn’t expect anything like this, I can’t believe it.’
Her winning idea was helped by her keen interest in design - but to the disappointment of BTHA’s director general Roland Earl who called her entry ‘lots of fun with great attention to safety’ that is not what she wants to do when she grows up. Amber has her heart set on becoming a paramedic.

The teenager from St George’s RC High School brought her parents David Hainey and Helen Howard, along with her teacher Phillip Westcott, to share her special day in London.

Her parents were beaming with pride as she was presented with a framed certificate after the lunch reception.  A £1,000 cheque to buy computer equipment for her school, and two £100 WH Smith vouchers – one for herself and one for the school – had already been sent.
Mrs Howard said:  ‘We are so proud of her, she is very talented.’

Amber was then treated to a trip to Hamley’s toy shop where she got to create her own teddy bear.

TSI’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said: ‘This annual competition is a great way to engage children and young people in a creative way, while raising awareness about the importance of safety features in the design of toys.  The key elements the judges are looking for in the entries are a fun and different design and clear attention to the safety of it in use.  
‘Amber’s design stood out because it was interactive and very well thought out – a very deserving winner.  It was a pleasure to meet her today and to be able to congratulate her in person.’

Notes to Editors
For photographs or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 08456089430 or

Details on how to take part in 2010 can be found soon 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.