The Consumer Council is committed to upholding our Corporate Social Responsibility, which informs all our activities and initiatives.
JAM Card Friendly
We are a JAM Card Friendly Organisation. The JAM Card, which stands for Just A Minute, is a social innovation from NOW Group. It was their service users who said they would like a discreet way of telling people that sometimes they need a little extra time and patience. The JAM Card was created first as a credit card sized card and has recently been developed into an app for smartphones
Learning and Development
We encourage staff to participate in learning and development opportunities to broaden their knowledge and skills. Some recent initiatives are detailed below:
National Energy Action City & Guilds Qualification – Energy Efficiency
The Consumer Council’s staff have completed the National Energy Action City and Guilds’ qualification in Energy Efficiency. This training has raised staff’s understanding of energy efficiency measures, which they can then share in our communications and outreach activities.
Friends Against Scams
The Consumer Council supports ‘Friends Against Scams’, which is a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative. The project aims to protect and prevent people from falling victims to scams by providing them with the necessary information to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’. Our staff have undertaken the ‘Friends Against Scams’ training, which has helped them to understand and talk about scams, as well as inform local communities about how to protect themselves and prevent scams.
Consumer Rights Act 2015 Training
The Consumer Council’s staff have completed the Trading Standards Institute’s training course and assessment in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 V2. This training has increased staff’s knowledge of consumer rights, which can now be drawn upon in our outreach activities and educational materials.
We support local charitable and fundraising initiatives. Some recent initiatives are detailed below.
Bryson Christmas Family Appeal
Staff in The Consumer Council have supported the Bryson Christmas Family Appeal for a number of years. This includes the purchase of gifts, including toys, clothing and toiletries, for a family that the charity has allocated to us.
Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day
The Consumer Council supported Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day 2016. Staff raised nearly £60 by wearing festive jumpers, which put them in the running to be crowned Christmas Jumper “King” and “Queen”.
National Energy Action ‘Bake Off’ Afternoon
The Consumer Council supported National Energy Action’s (NEA) campaign to end fuel poverty. Staff held a ‘bake off’ style coffee afternoon, raising a total of £95 for NEA.
Events and Partnerships
We have a number of partnerships to support local communities. Some recent initiatives include:
Feed the 5000 – Belfast Food Network
Belfast Food Network, in association with Friends of the Earth, Big Lunch NI and GreenMan Packaging, held a “Feed the 5000” event on the evening of Culture Night Belfast on 16 September 2016. Staff from The Consumer Council volunteered in the preparation and serving of food. The aim of this event was to feed 5,000 people, primarily through the use of surplus foods (such as grade 2 and 3 vegetables that are not accepted by supermarkets).
Train the Advisor
Staff from The Consumer Council deliver ‘Train the Advisor’ workshops to people from the advice sector who work in a consumer-facing role, e.g. staff from advice agencies and MLA constituency offices. The workshops highlight The Consumer Council’s role and how we can help their service users. We also informing participants about consumer and passenger rights, and the tools we have produced to help consumers save money on household bills.
The Consumer Council is part of the Digital Assist steering group, which is co-ordinated by Business in the Community. We work with a number of partner organisations, including the Department of Finance, Supporting Communities NI, BBC and Libraries NI. Our aim is to pool share our skills, expertise and knowledge to reduce the digital divide in Northern Ireland. We are working together to break down the barriers of digital exclusion and help everyone get online.