I’m delighted to be hosting this year’s Checkatrade’s charity Spring Ball in May, with a glamorous evening in store for the guests lucky enough to attend.
The fun will be taking place at Brighton’s Hilton Metropole Hotel on Saturday 20 May, with the event open to everyone. The night’s Hollywood theme will provide the glitz and glamour of the silver screen, complete with a black tie and dress code, an elegant red-carpet reception and a glass of bubbly upon arrival for guests.
There’ll also be cracking contemporary swing-pop on the night from 2014 ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalists Jack Pack. The four-piece are renowned for their belting performances that harken back to the days of Sinatra and the Rat Pack – and I for one can’t wait to see them perform live! As well as the top-class entertainment, there’s a quality three-course dinner with wine, a chance to show off your moves on the dancefloor with a disco, alongside a complimentary photo booth and an amazing magician.
Tickets are priced at just £100 per head, and incredibly all monies raised are going towards the Checkatrade Foundation. Proceeds go towards backing an amazing children’s project in Nepal, as well as Dementia UK supporting sufferers up-and-down the country.
We kick-off proceedings at 6.30pm in the Oxford Suite with the drinks reception, and final carriages are at 1am, with car parking available on-site. At the end of the night, there will be discounted B&B rates available at the Hilton Metropole, or there are plenty of alternative options nearby to the venue. Book before 31 March for a discounted rate, a table of 10 for just £900.
It’s going to be a great night in Brighton, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of our members joining us, see you then!
For more information on the event and to purchase your tickets for a special night, visit: springball.checkatrade.com.
Written by Craig Phillips – Checkatrade Ambassador
In this day and age, £1 0 only goes so far, but this season it could get you into Wembley to watch the Checkatrade Trophy Final.
Ticket sales for this season’s final have been selling fast, with excitement building as Coventry City and Oxford United prepare to go head-to-head on Sunday 2 April for the first time under the famous arch.
Current ticket sales, more than two weeks out from the big day, indicate that the attendance for the final will be one of the highest in the competition’s history with over 60,000 tickets already sold.
The £10 ticket price applies for supporters aged 16 and under.
The final has captured the imagination of young supporters from both clubs, with more than 10,000 junior tickets having been purchased to date.
It will be the Sky Blues’ first trip to Wembley for 30 years, but for Oxford, the national stadium is familiar territory, having played in the final of this competition last season, losing out to now Championship side Barnsley.
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “It has been very encouraging to see how ticket sales have progressed and it is great that so many young fans are coming to watch what promises to be an exciting and competitive final.
“The £10 offer is fantastic opportunity to experience a special occasion at Wembley Stadium, the home of football in this country, and I urge as many of our finalists’ young fans and families to take advantage.”
The two teams have met twice this season in the league, both claiming home victories with Coventry winning 2-1 in October, and Oxford claiming a 4-1 victory the following month at the Kassam Stadium.
Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, said: “We’re delighted that the EFL are offering this fantastic deal to young supporters for what should be a great game of football. As a proud community-driven business, we’re thrilled that youngsters from across the country can experience Wembley at a competitive price.
This is a great opportunity to attend the home of football and we look forward to seeing lots of young supporters at the Checkatrade Trophy Final on Sunday 2nd April.”
Tickets can be purchased via the Coventy City ticket office. For Oxford United tickets, further information is available by visiting www.oufc.co.uk.
For further details regarding the Checkatrade Trophy, please visit www.efl.com/checkatrade-trophy.With 72 member clubs across three divisions, the EFL (English Football League) is the world’s original league football competition. It is the largest single body of professional clubs in European football and is responsible for administering and regulating the Sky Bet EFL, EFL Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, as well as reserve and youth football. The EFL, EFL Trust and our member clubs are at the heart of communities across the country, providing shared experiences for all and using the power of sport to improve lives.
ExCel, London 29th April – 7th May 2017
Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns to London’s ExCel from 29th April – 7th May 2017. Running for nine days, the show offers visitors a unique opportunity to see all the latest trends for the home as well as many products never seen before. Based on the Channel 4 TV series, and presented by design guru Kevin McCloud, the event will be packed with over 500 exhibitors, across six different sections where you can take away ideas and inspiration for your very own GRAND design.
Claim your FREE tickets now*
We have teamed up with Grand Designs Live to offer you FREE weekday or weekend tickets to the event!
Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECKFREE to claim!
2 for 1 tickets**
We have another great deal on offer! Get 2 tickets for the price of 1! Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECK241 to claim. Or call the ticket hotline on 0844 854 1348.
*T&C’s Offer valid on standard admission tickets only, offer ends 06/05/2017, tickets must be booked in advance, max 2 tickets per household, non-transferable, print at home tickets only, tickets valid on any one day, subject to limited availability, tickets allocated on a first come-first served basis.
**T&C’s – Transaction fee of £1.70 applies per order. Tickets must be booked in advance. Offer ends 06/05/2017. Offer valid on standard admission tickets only. Saving based on the door rate.
Following the postponement of the Checkatrade Trophy Quarter-Final fixture between Oxford United and Bradford City last week, the competition sponsors Checkatrade have organised free coach travel for fans to go back to the Kassam Stadium this week (Tuesday 31st January).
The game was postponed due to a frozen pitch with the Bantam’s travelling support already in the stadium. The title sponsors of the competition, Checkatrade, have subsequently worked with the club to organise free coach travel for fans who made the 350-mile round journey.
Holders of the postponed match day tickets can contact Shipley Bantams Travel to secure their free place on 07974757730 or alternatively email the travel group at [email protected]. The free places are limited, as a result these are available on a first come first served basis.*
Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, said: “The reason why we sponsored the tournament was to support lower league football clubs and their fans. We saw the dedicated fans that made the mammoth journey down to Oxford United earlier this week and we felt their loyalty and support deserved to be recognised, so putting on the coaches is the least we can do. I hope they all enjoy the game, whatever the result.”
James Mason, Chief Operating Officer at Bradford City, added: “It’s a wonderful gesture by Checkatrade and the EFL to provide the free coach. A really nice touch.
“Hopefully many fans will still be able to go and take advantage of this. The more fans we have at Oxford to cheer the team on the better. Our fans have been brilliant all season travelling long distances to support their team, so this is a much-appreciated offer.”
*Supporters are reminded this is a none alcohol service. Supporters club membership numbers are required on booking.
Industrial safety footwear experts Dr. Martens has launched their new, revolutionary footwear collection, DM’s Lite. Designed to provide ultimate comfort without compromising on function or safety, Dr. Martens has unleashed a game changer in the form of three new styles, the Calamus, Linnet and Corvid. Lightweight without compromise.
Weighing in at only 3.2lbs a pair, Dr. Martens’ Calamus are guaranteed to keep you light on your feet. Each pair of DM’s Lite comes with a Softwair memory foam footbed, positioned and shaped for arch support, and also includes breathable linings, padded collar and tongue for all-day ease and comfort.
When it comes to safety footwear, it’s crucial to have the right type of foot protection to suit you and your workplace. Research suggests that 2.1 million working days were lost in 2014/15, with over half caused by slips, trips and falls from height. DM’s Lite offer lightweight, comfort-driven styles, ideal for those working on their feet all-day. From the everyday DIY-er, to the full-time Transport Operations Manager, DM’s Lite makes for an ideal choice.
Aside from the lightness, each style boasts a range of safety benefits, including a composite toe cap, a flexible puncture-resistant midsole and a Nitrile rubber outsole that provides exceptional heat and slip resistance.
For more information on what you can expect from the new Dr. Martens range, click here.
Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit have kindly put together their top tips for this ever growing problem.
Cyber Crime Prevention Top Tips
- Backup your files and data to external hard drives, the cloud and don’t forget to back up your phone regularly.
- Check that a websites address is genuine by looking for misspellings.
- Use 3G/4G for confidential browsing instead of free public WiFi.
- Do not enter personal information on a website that has no padlock in the browser or https:// at the beginning of the web address.
- Always ensure you are running the latest version of your chosen browser.
- Ensure you have effective and updated Anti-Virus software and firewall running before you go online. Do not install 2 Anti-Virus programs as they will conflict.
- Be aware of USBs containing malware that can run without your knowledge.
- Use strong and random passwords/passphrases i.e. use at least 10 characters, include numbers and letters, both upper and lower case.
- Different site – different password.
- Use a password manager to remember all your passwords.
- Use multi factor authentication.
- Delete and block spam/junk emails. Be careful when opening attachments or using internet downloads and don’t click on links in emails from unknown senders.
- Change your default WiFi passwords
- Especially if you run a business, make sure you double check who is sending you invoices and where they want the money sent.
- Make sure your internet browser and any plug-ins are updated (e.g. Flash, Java, Silverlight).
- Use reputable companies when shopping online.
- Use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or credit cards for online purchases.
- Be aware of scams: criminal gangs operate scams and use the internet to defraud people and businesses, i.e. asking for money to pay for travel, finance a sick relative, or winning the lottery.
- Protect your identity online and beware of social engineering. Remember if you share any pictures or information with anyone online you will lose control of it and could be used in attacks such as trying to guess your passwords.
- Take 5 minutes to think when about to send a large amount of money online. Is everything adding up as it should?
- Report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud
If you have any specific questions relating to this subject please email [email protected]
Worcestershire Trading Standards are pleased to announce that we are now working in partnership with Checkatrade to provide an approved trader scheme to help Worcestershire’s consumers choose a trader they can trust and rely upon.
Each trader under this scheme undergoes a comprehensive vetting procedure and continuous monitoring of customer feedback as well as being checked by Trading Standards following the Checkatrade vetting process.
Worcestershire Trading Standards, in partnership with Checkatrade, are committed to protecting customers, supporting legitimate business and solving the UK’s rogue trader problem.
Trading Standards Approved means that an approved business understands that they are required to adhere to certain trading laws. Checks have been carried out by Trading Standards using partner agencies, intelligence databases and trader history. Trading Standards Approved ensures maximum consumer protection and stops rogue traders. Whilst they cannot guarantee the quality of goods or services, Local Authorities are confident that once checked traders will act responsibly and deal with their customers fairly and honestly. Consumers will always have the opportunity to reflect this when giving feedback.
- Scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of consumer detriment every year
- Campaign to help people identify, change perceptions and prevent people falling victim to scams
A new campaign has launched today to raise awareness of scams and encourage people to take a stand against them. Scams often target people in vulnerable situations – the Friends Against Scams campaign aims to protect and prevent these people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.
Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.
The Friends Against Scams campaign, launched by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, is open to anyone who wants to protect themselves, their neighbours or their loved ones against scams. Free training and awareness sessions – available online and in person at local awareness sessions – are being rolled out, which will provide people with the confidence and skills they need to identify and prevent scams. Those who participate in the training will become a Friend Against Scams and will be encouraged to put their knowledge to use in their local communities.
The Friends Against Scams campaign aims to:
- Highlight the scale of the issue by encouraging communities and the nation to talk about scams
- Change the perceptions of why people become scam victims
- Prevent people from becoming or continuing to be a scam victim by providing better support
- Recruit individuals and communities to join the fight against scams to make this a scam-free nation
In addition to empowering members of the public the campaign will also partner with a range of organisations who will help promote awareness of scams and take steps to help tackle scams. Founding partners of the campaign include NatWest, Bournemouth University and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
Louise Baxter, Team Manager at the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:
“Scams do huge damage to our society and we have launched this campaign to protect our communities, particularly people in vulnerable situations who are deliberately targeted by criminals. Scams defraud people and – in addition to the financial damage – many victims are left feeling socially isolated, often too uncomfortable to tell their friends and family what has happened.
“It is time that we took a stand against scams. Friends Against Scams aims to tackle the lack of scams awareness by providing information to enable communities and organisations to understand scams, talk about scams and convey messages throughout communities about scam prevention and protection. I’d encourage anyone interested in stopping scams to visit the Friends Against Scams website – http://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ – and sign-up.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:
“I strongly believe this campaign can play an important role in helping stop scams. Criminals often prey on victims who find themselves in vulnerable situations and we can all play a part to protect ourselves, family members, friends and neighbours from falling victim to scams, which is why I welcome this campaign and encourage people to get involved.
“Anyone who is worried they may be being scammed or who is concerned about someone who they fear may be a victim should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
For the past 18 years Checkatrade have been working hard to combat rogues trades and services. 4 years ago Suffolk CC TS joined us and today we stand in partnership with 9 Local Authority Trading Standards. This session is about our journey, the partnership model and the awesome results we’re achieving together for residents.
Combining the intelligence of Trading Standards and the 18 years of award winning pioneering service from Checkatrade, there is before us probably the most significant opportunity this country has seen to date to protect residents from rogue trades.
Kevin Byrne Founder of Checkatrade:
“Checkatrade is one of the UK’s monumental successes on many levels. It started in 1998 when a tornado caused over £10m of damage to the home town of Checkatrade founder Kevin Byrne. After being reported on national news, trades from all over the UK flooded to Selsey and victims of the weather became victims of rogue trades. After a search to see if an answer to the rogue trade problem was out there, Kevin couldn’t find one, so with nothing more than a telephone and a PC Kevin set out to develop an answer.”
Today over 850,000 individuals every month use Checkatrade to find the right trade for them. These trades have to go through 18 considerations, 14 of these being checks before they are able to join Checkatrade. If the member in one of our partnered Trading Standards areas these can increase up to a total of 25 considerations. These include ID references, insurance, qualifications and professional memberships. This has contributed massively to make Checkatrade the first port of call for residents to find quality trades and services. In the last 12 months we have generated over 8,500 new jobs in the trade industry and an estimated £2.7b for the trades listed on Checkatrade and for the UK economy. Not many UK companies can claim these numbers and for the comfort of many the company is still privately owned and passionately run by the Byrne family with no city investment.
Our Local Authority Trading Standards partnership journey started 4 years ago when Suffolk County Council Trading Standards decided to discard their Approved Trader scheme and adopt Checkatrade as their partners. Which was then soon followed by Kent County Council. When Checkatrade partnered with Kent County Council they both took considerable time developing a scheme that would bring a standard to the status, “Trading Standards Approved”. One that could and should be recognized by other Local Authorities across the UK.
The aim being:
• To bring a UK standard for Trading Standards Approved.
• To protect all residents both able and vulnerable.
• To help trades become more compliant to consumer laws and improve their service.
• To bring valuable help and income to local authorities.
• To enhance the economy of local regions.
• To bring valuable employment to local regions.
We have achieved all the above in measure.
Our vetting is even more stringent where we have a partnership with a local authority. There are an additional 7 considerations, which includes Trading Standards Intelligence checks. A key factor that is well worth highlighting is that the final decision of who can join and be listed on Checkatrade and label their company as Trading Standards Approved is in the hands of the Trading Standards officers in the local authority.
To find out more or to search for a recommended trader, visit www.checkatrade.com.
Following the recent episode of BBC’s Rip off Britain aired on Tuesday 13th September which featured a segment on Checkatrade, Kevin Byrne CEO and founder of Checkatrade has issued a statement.
“Checkatrade would like to sincerely apologise to Brian Lambert for the substandard work he received. Checkatrade ensure all trades joining today are interviewed face to face, vetted with 18 considerations and 14 actual checks. This results in only 1 complaint in every 200 jobs for poor workmanship but sadly a small minority of jobs don’t always go to plan. Mr Lambert’s complaint was received on 17th September 2015 and at this point the trader had 42 positive reviews from happy customers. However, after an inspection of the workmanship in question we agreed the work was of a poor nature and after numerous attempts to contact the trade, we took the decision to expel them on 27th October 2015. Checkatrade are now partnered with Trading Standards to further support monitoring and vetting systems.” Kevin Byrne CEO and Founder of Checkatrade.
The advice and training which we have received from our primary authority, Trading Standards, has been implemented and acted on and we try our utmost to ensure that our scheme is robust with only genuine traders being allowed. We are continually monitoring and adjusting our processes to try and prevent these types of instances from happening.
Checkatrade would like to take this opportunity to remind all customers that we are dedicated and committed to maintaining our reputation and do everything we can to ensure we provide only the best and most reliable tradespeople in the UK.
We have over twenty two thousand reputable tradespeople at the click of a button and although accessing them is a simple process, we can guarantee that these tradespeople have been through rigorous checks before they feature on the site.
This rigorous vetting process, which includes valid Public Liability Insurance, accreditation’s and monitoring of the company’s status, continues throughout their membership to ensure our tradespeople meet the Checkatrade standard.
This is something that Checkatrade are extremely strict on and we want to reassure all of our past, present and future customers that should we receive a negative review of a sub-standard job, we will action it immediately and the company/person in question will be investigated and their place on the site will be re-considered.
As with any company or service, sadly mistakes can and do happen but did you know that 1 in every 5 jobs in the UK carried out by tradespeople need to be put right based on a National Average. At Checkatrade we pride ourselves on being able to confidently state that on average for every 200 reviews we obtain only one is negative. From the date of this being published we have also had 2,561,965 reviews posted on the Checkatrade website.