The National Pawnbrokers Association announced its Awards winners for 2019-20 at their Awards Dinner at the Victoria Plaza London on 11th October. The winners were as follows;
Lifetime Achievement and Honorary Fellowship- Margot Walker, W J Edwards
Margot has worked in the industry as a partner in her extremely successful family run independent Pawnbrokers & Jewellers WJ Edwards, founded by her grandfather, for 30 years. Her ‘hands-on’ approach is legendary, and she has become the firm’s compliance expert through the FCA regime, GDPR and the Senior Manager’s Regime. She has been serving on the NPA council since 2001 and has vast experience of the NPA and the challenges for the industry. She was Vice President for two years and proudly became the first female President (2011) serving for three years – and also served on the BCCA Council (now CFA). She has always put the interests of all the members as a priority. In 2019 she launched the celebrations for the 100 anniversary of her company, with a range of community activities. She was also nominated as Merseyside Woman of the Year. She is deeply passionate about pawnbroking and the NPA Council decided she thoroughly deserves this accolade.
Employer of the Year H&T
The judges were particularly impressed with their people development, staff workshops, and the Stair Step training programme which leads to rewards and recognition. The induction courses and innovation scheme and comprehensive management training scheme.
Employer of the Year Highly Commended Capital Cash
All finalists in the Employer category for 2019 were of an extremely high standard and presented the judges with a difficult job. However, they did wish to comment on Capital Cash and award them with Highly Commended certification. Their staff were highly motivated, with a strong focus on training and development with a great sense of teamwork and engagement- No Passion no Point.
Best Store of the Year New Bond St Pawnbrokers
Smart presentation led to significant footfall increases, staff retention was 100% and recent innovations included online and social media strategy which was also highly successful in driving traffic in-store.
Community Contribution Joint Winners
One store only managed to raise £80k over a few years to help various local charities including a special needs school, hospices, raising money from auctions and charity walks. Promotions involved the local Mayor and his charities. Strong desire to give back to the community and engage in local projects for good.
Charity and local support tied in to their 100th anniversary celebrations. They ran competitions in 5 local schools involving creating drawings which were shown in-store. The activities involved the Mayor of Liverpool, parents, teachers, and schoolkids. They are now building on this by linking with children’s hospitals for several years hence.
Employee of the Year- Gosia Mazik Cash Shop Ltd
Gosia implemented staff rota software, developed their pension scheme and integrated planning and payroll as well as developing their GDPR programme and training staff, developed a robust compliance audit process and reviewed the pawnbroking process and launched a customer contact programme. She created all training manuals and introduced a company hallmark, developed the retail image, simplifying software. The judges felt that she demonstrated passion and support well beyond the ‘day job’ and was clearly highly respected by colleagues and across the business.
Student of the Year- Sandra Wheeler from Wallabrook Ltd (t/a Wants Cash Centre Ltd)
This award is based on achieving top marks in the NPA’s Excellence in Pawnbroking Certification and receiving a distinction. Students study 5 modules based on pawnbroking, law and compliance, and technical knowledge of metals and jewellery.
Ray Perry, CEO of NPA said,
“The Awards this year have demonstrated the professionalism and excellence in all categories from involvement in the community through to training and developing staff, and members who are reaping the benefits of successful business development and strategies. Congratulations should go to all those firms who were short-listed. The standard once again was excellent making the judges decisions very hard. This speaks volumes of the professionalism of the industry from our student award winner through to our lifetime achievement winner.
For more information or to arrange interviews with Ray Perry, please contact us on 020 8616 7266
Notes for Editors
The National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) was founded in 1892 and is the trade association representing pawnbrokers, from the large chains through to independents, in a £500m loan market. It is the authoritative voice of the pawnbroking industry in the UK. The NPA stands for expertise, fairness and transparency, professionalism and excellence. All our members are bound by our rules and a customer code of conduct. Pawnbroking is part of the credit industry and is regulated alongside banks and other lenders by the Financial Conduct Authority.