We have asked staff from across the racing industry to explore some of the services on offer through Racing’s Support Line which is now delivered in partnership with Care first. In part two of her series, industry employee Lucy Baker discovers that Telephone Information Specialists can provide practical support for everything from consumer issues to housing advice and so much more…
Do you remember being a child and spending hours daydreaming of your future life as an adult? Dreaming of all the freedom that lay ahead, of finally doing what you want when you want and not answering to anyone? Oh, how naive we were!
The responsibilities and, let’s face it, drudgery that often comes with adult life rarely factored into our rose tinted view of the future that lay before us. I never once considered my ability to complete a passport application, manage a family budget, or if I would know what to do when my energy supplier appeared to be robbing me blind. I never once considered that I would have to think of what to cook for my three gannet like children elevntybillion days in a row.
Two of said children have a birthday this week and in an attempt to make the best of a lockdown celebration I may have got a little click happy online: cake mould – tick, candles – tick, balloons – tick, glow sticks, a disco light and a glitter ball (obviously!) – tick, and most importantly, two repeatedly requested smart watches – tick.
So, like the good grown up I now am, I did my research on the best generic smart watches for a seven year old child, read all the reviews and made the purchase well ahead of the big day.
Last week, I unpacked the watches to get them set up so they could be played with straight away only to be hit with the dreadful realisation that one of them wasn’t working. Aaarrgghhh! Unsurprisingly, I hadn’t been bright enough to buy the insurance that was offered and my uncharacteristic early purchase meant I was no longer able to make a return. What now?!
I had been told that Racing’s Support Line has Citizens Advice trained Telephone Information Specialists (TIS) who can help with a multitude of situations, including consumer advice, so, I picked up the phone and Katie came to the rescue. She asked me a few questions about my purchase and clearly explained all my options and the processes I needed to follow depending on what I wanted to do. While I was panicking about exactly how upset my child was going to be, Katie was just calm and helpful, giving me all the information I needed so that I could make a rational decision on my next steps. You will be relieved to hear a working replacement arrived with 24 hours to spare.
Having sorted my birthday present disaster, Katie explained that TIS are not just there for consumer issues, but that they can help with so many of those adult responsibilities we never saw coming. Sadly, Katie couldn’t provide me with a magic recipe for seven healthy and budget friendly meals that would keep the whole family happy for a week but she can provide information and practical support on everything from budgeting and mortgages to benefits and divorce.
All the Telephone Information Specialists are Citizens Advice trained and they come with the added benefit that there is no waiting around for an appointment or a call back. Whoever answers your call will help you there and then, meaning instant access to support with things like filling in forms for passports, benefits or mortgage applications as well as advice on anything from debt to immigration.
Katie reassured me that the service was confidential and that it came with no judgement, the specialists are just there offering support no matter what your query. Even if you are in a situation that you think might mean you need a qualified solicitor or financial advisor, a call to a TIS can point you in the right direction and help you make an informed choice.
Apparently, “no question is too weird or wonderful!” so next time you are having to deal with one of adulthood’s more tedious or complicated issues my advice would be to pick up the phone. If only I could have Katie on speedial!
If you work in racing you can call Racing’s Support Line free of charge 24/7 on 0800 6300 443.