Press releases

Credit Union employee receives national recognition for her community work

Andrea Dockerty is receiving national recognition for her work with a Trading Standards Institute’s (TSI) Hero Award at TSI’s Conference in Manchester today (Tuesday 26 June).

Whitehaven and Egremont Credit Union (WEDCU) development manager Andrea Dockeray was nominated for the award for her inspiring work raising awareness of the dangers of borrowing money from illegal lenders. 

Following the conviction of a local loan shark, Andrea worked with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (based with the Birmingham City Council Trading Standards Service) and Cumbria Trading Standards to deliver a ‘Week of Action’ in the Whitehaven/Egremont area to raise awareness of illegal money lending stop loan sharks.

 Andrea arranged events throughout Whitehaven and Egremont, including training sessions for credit union staff and volunteers, training for community members, special school assemblies, high-profile banners in community facilities, poster competitions and beer mats delivered to pubs in the area warning of loan sharks. All had the ‘loan shark danger’ message. The Week of Action was funded via cash confiscated from illegal money lenders through the courts, giving it back to the local communities affected by loan sharks.

Andrea arranged the whole week at the same time as doing her ‘day job’ of managing a large group of volunteers at the Whitehaven and Egremont Credit Union.

Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, nominated Andrea for the award. He said:  “Andrea was committed fully to supporting the project and made the ‘week of action’ happen. She worked tirelessly and showed real dedication to promote the week, with its central ‘loan shark danger’ message.
“Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities, causing misery and fear to their victims.  They often trap people into a spiral of debt and many will resort to the worst kind of bully tactics once people are unable to pay.  We would urge anyone who is the victim of an illegal money lender to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”

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.”

During the ‘Week of Action’ residents were encouraged to kick start their savings, in an initiative organised jointly by the England Illegal Money Lending Team with WEDCU.  The membership fee to join WEDCU (normally £2) was waved for the first 100 people who opened new credit union accounts during the week.  If these new members continued to save for the next two months a £20 bonus was deposited into their credit union account. As a result 77 new credit union members were recruited.

DATE: 26 June 2012
Notes for Editors:

The awards ceremony is at Manchester Central 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

• A Credit Union is a community based non-profit making savings and borrowings organisation that is owned, run and controlled by its members and for its members.  It is a place where you will be welcomed as a saver and helped as a borrower, where becoming a member is about caring and sharing and restoring community spirit.

WEDCU was formed in 2010 when Whitehaven Credit Union and Egremont and District Credit Union merged.  WEDCU is open to everyone (adults and juniors) who lives or works in this Common Bond Area (including workers at the Sellafield site) and currently has over 2,700 members.  Collection points operate in and around Egremont and Whitehaven and more are being added on a regular basis, especially in the rural hinterland.

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