4,500 calls | 

Kind-hearted woman calls back Spend Local card holders after scheme gives out her number instead of helpline's

Helen McMahon received 4,500 calls after an email from the scheme was sent to holders last week with her business number on it
Good Samaritan: Helen McMahon

Good Samaritan: Helen McMahon

Jamie McDowell

A woman from Bangor has revealed she has been inundated with 4,500 calls to her business after the Spend Local scheme accidentally gave out the number for her business instead of the number for their own helpline.

An email was sent out on Thursday urging recipients who had not fully spent their card to do so before the deadline.

However, the helpline number in the email had one incorrect digit in it and was, in fact, the number for Helen McMahon’s first aid training business.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster show, Ms McMahon explained: “At the start of the Spend Local scheme I was getting a lot of phone calls because there is one digit difference between my business landline number and theirs.

"Then that sort of died away and I was getting one or two calls a day and then from Thursday evening my phone went mad and all these voicemails were being left.

"I thought all these people were looking for first aid training coming up to Christmas.

"I was listening to them and one woman in particular sounded lovely and I rang her back and explained she had misdialled and she read out the email and forwarded it to me and I realised, ‘oh my goodness’, and that was the start of it."

Once she was able to get in contact with the Spend Local team team, Ms McMahon said they were “very apologetic”.

Saying she wanted to turn a “negative into a positive”, the businesswoman decided to call as many people back as possible so she could help them in any way she could.

She explained: “Some were older people, some were very distressed.

"They're asking for someone to call them back leaving a voicemail expecting a phone call back and they're not going to get one because they're ringing me.

"I felt I had a duty. I could take this one or two ways, get really upset or turn a negative into a positive and phone these people back and help them.

"Every year at this time we're told to think about a lot of elderly who choose between heat or eat and for some people that £100 card meant an awful lot.

"So I thought, I need to try and help these people and phone them back."

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