Young Pretenders Crowned Consumer Kings

MOVE over Nicky Campbell – these youngsters proved they know how to shoot down the cowboys when they were crowned consumer kings.

Pupils from Fraserburgh Academy scooped the regional heat in the Young Consumers of the Year 2006 awards.

The team, aged between 14 and 17, will now go on to represent north Scotland in next year’s grand final in Edinburgh.

The competition, now in its 20th year, is backed by Trading Standards Institute across the country.

At a competition held recently in the Highland Council’s headquarters in Inverness, youngsters were quizzed on their rights and responsibilities as consumers on topics such as finance, consumer affairs and safety.

This year’s main heat sponsor, United Utilities, contributed costs towards travel for the teams from the Highland area and provided Fraserburgh Academy with £200 to be spent on a project with an environmental theme.

United Utilities is one of the UK’s biggest multi-utility companies and has over 30 sites across the country, managing wastewater treatment facilities in Scotland.

John Hart, head of operations at United Utilities, said: "As part of the competition, students had to answer questions relating to the environment, including the safety of the water consumers’ drink and the safe disposal of waste which impacts on our environment.

"This is an important message and this was an excellent opportunity for United Utilities to get our message across to the young consumers."

The winning school also received vouchers, provided by United Utilities, from Monster Activities South Laggan, near Spean Bridge, to spend on a white water rafting experience on the River Gary. Iain Mackinnon, Operations Manager for Monster Activities said: "We are more than happy to help out as youth and the environment are what we should be focusing on for the future. We hope the team from Fraserburgh Academy get a real buzz in trying the ‘white water rafting at our centre." Other ‘Monster Activities’ include Quad biking and target sports, which even include Tomahawk and knife throwing.

This year, the North of Scotland heat was made up of teams from Nicholson Institute, Western Isles, Fraserburgh Academy, Aberdeen-shire, Glen Urquhart High School, Highland and Kinlochleven, Highland.

The North of Scotland Heat held in Inverness was hosted by Highland Council Trading Standards Service, part of Transport, Environmental and Communities Services within the Highland Council.

Consumer Direct (Scotland), which backed the competition for the second successive year, also contributed to travel costs of other schools travelling to Inverness to take part. Consumer Direct Scotland is a telephone and online consumer advice and information service for all Scottish consumers.

Ronnie Murray from Consumer Direct Scotland, who attended the North of Scotland Heat said: "We are very enthusiastic about this competition as being properly informed of your rights as a consumer is such an important issue."

Mr Murray added: "Consumer Direct Scotland provides practical advice which empowers consumers to resolve their own problems. We are therefore delighted to be involved with an event that encourages the consumers of tomorrow to become more aware of their rights."

Other sponsors of the competition provided various other prizes. ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) provided PlayStation games for the highest scoring runners-up.

Other runners-up teams received various prizes as recognition of them taking part in the competition and all their hard work.

Prizes were presented by Quizmaster, Mr Jamie Stone, Scottish Member of Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland who has been in the chair for the second year running. Mr Bob Jones, Principal Trading Standards Officer, who was Scoremaster for the competition, thanked Mr Stone for participating again in the event and presented him with a framed drawing of a map of the Highlands. Cllr David Munro, Vice-Chairman of Transport, Environmental and Community Services (Waste Management and Direct Services) also attended the competition and thanked all the sponsors involved in the competition for their invaluable support.

The Scottish final will be held at the Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh in May 2006 with the winners then representing Scotland in the UK Final of the competition in 2006.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

Main sponsors of the competition are:

Consumer Direct Scotland is a DTI funded telephone and online consumer advice and information service for all Scottish consumers and is backed by the Department of Trade and Industry.  There contact telephone number for consumers requiring first contact advice is 08454 04 05 06

United Utilities is the UK's largest operator of wastewater systems.

It owns and operates the wastewater network in North West England. The company treats 2,200 million litres of wastewater every day via a network of around 39,000 kilometres of sewers. They maintain a network of sewers and treatment works to collect and treat wastewater from these homes and businesses, before returning it safely to the environment. In the North West they maintain and operate:

39,000 km of sewers 600 wastewater treatment works. They also manage wastewater networks in Wales for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and wastewater treatment facilities in Scotland. Around the world they are providing and improving wastewater services in Australia, Bulgaria, Estonia, the Philippines and Poland.

‘Monster Activities’ is based in the Great Glen just south of Fort Augustus, they offer the widest range of activities in any Scotland outdoor centre, they have the best White Water Rafting due to the fact they use a dam released river guaranteeing high water level, on the land they run Quad biking and target sports, which even include Tomahawk and knife throwing.

ELSPA - The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association Limited ELSPA (the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the British computer and video games industry. Since then, the membership has steadily grown from 12 to nearly 100 companies, including almost all the major companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure and entertainment software in the UK. ELSPA works to protect, promote and provide for the interests of all its members. For further information about the work carried out by ELSPA consumers can log on to their website on

The Young Consumers Competition

The competition is run by the Trading Standards Institute and is aimed at testing the knowledge of 14-17 year olds on a wide range of consumer issues. The Final is held at the TSI Annual Conference. Further information about the Competition is available on the Young Consumers website.

Trading Standards Service is part of Transport, Environment and Community Service, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness

18 Apr 2006