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Scam Bingo a winner in Cairns

Social Worker Tracey Ashton and Paralegal Stephanie Carroll delivering a Scam Bingo session.

Cries of “bingo” have been ringing out in community groups in Cairns as innovative Community Legal Education (CLE) sessions are run across the city.

Cairns Community Legal Centre (CCLC)’s Scam Bingo presentations, designed for seniors, have proven so popular, they are booked out months in advance.

Supervising Solicitor Kelsey Leahy said the idea to develop games-based CLE offerings came about after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted.

“While we had been delivering community legal education for many years, we were faced with the community’s hesitation to engage in group settings,” Kelsey said.

“We had to think outside of the box and develop fun and engaging ways to deliver content that the community wanted to come together for.”

The first offering was Scam Bingo, a remodelled version of an information bingo session conducted over several years by the Seniors Rights Service.

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“We chose to model the session around scams for a number of reasons – it had always been our most requested topic for community education, scams were gaining a lot of media attention and we were starting to see an increase in clients who had been scammed seeking legal advice and support,” Kelsey said.


She said the centre regularly promoted the sessions to local community groups, who would then refer other organisations to the centre. The organisation provided the tables and chairs, and the CCLC provided the bingo sheets, dabbers or highlighters, and prizes.

The one-hour sessions are delivered by either a social worker or solicitor from the centre’s Seniors Legal and Support Service, with help from a paralegal.

“We are very adaptable and have delivered the sessions in many ways including to a group of 80 people; to Deaf Connect, where we had two Auslan interpreters assist; a multicultural friend group, where no participants were fluent in English, so we had three interpreters; and to a dementia carer support group,” Kelsey said.

“For each scam we discuss, we explain what the scam is and the different ways it can present, provide tips and tricks, and then reveal the bingo word before moving on to the next scam.

“We have developed scam bingo so that there will always be at least one winner and we have a prize box for the winner to choose something from. We also take along thank-you gifts for the other participants which promotes our centre in a fun way.”

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The CCLC has built on the success of Scam Bingo by developing a trivia CLE session, Let’s Get Quizzical. Since launching in February, the session has been delivered twice and already has advance bookings.

For information about the centre’s CLE sessions, visit the website.

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