Vote for how loan shark cash will help Birmingham

By on 15/11/2012 in News

Birmingham residents can have their say in how loan sharks’ cash is used to benefit communities, as part of a pioneering project organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

The team, hosted by Birmingham City Council, put forward £5,000 -  money which has been extorted from communities by illegal money lenders. After  encouraging local community groups, agencies and individuals to put forward a bid for the cash, 13 bids successfully met the criteria.

Now the public can have their say on who will get the funding. Voting is open online via the following link until Friday 30th November.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/loansharkmedia

The public can choose between the following groups and agencies – ten of which will each receive £500 to fund their projects:

• The Jan Foundation: Plan to create financial guidance packs for those affected by domestic violence and host a community lunch to launch the packs.

• Bourneville Village Trust: Who plan to use the funding to produce useful supermarket trolley coins which promote the England Illegal Money Lending Team and the Credit Union.

• Smilers Club: Aim to use the funding to promote financial awareness, exercise and healthy eating with senior citizens.

• Northfield Town Partnership: Aim to use the funding to provide budgeting and debt awareness workshops for residents.

• The Disability Resource Centre: Aim to provide money management and financial literary training to disabled residents.

• Our Place Community Hub: Plan to use art to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, and provide money advice.

• Wylde Green Primary School: Aim to provide one on one money management sessions for parents.

• Great Barr Community Group: Aim to organise coffee mornings, providing money and safety advice.

• Citizens Advice Bureau: Plan to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and give advice to families in Shard End.

• Urban Devotion: Aim to provide financial literary sessions for young people.

• Malcolm Locker Youth Centre: Plan to set up a drop in advice and money management accreditation scheme.

• Aquarius Erdington: Plan to set up drop in advice and internet access to financial services.

• St Thomas Children's Centre: Plan to set up financial and budgeting sessions aimed at parents and children.

The successful projects will then be invited to a presentation ceremony at Birmingham Council House on Thursday 6th December to receive their cheques.

Councillor Barbara Dring, chairman of the licensing and public protection committee at Birmingham City Council, said: “We're pleased to support this innovative scheme, and would urge the public to get online and cast their votes to have their say in the how this money which has been extorted by these criminals is put to good use. We continue to support the England Illegal Money Lending Team as they crack down on this horrific crime.”

Jacqui Kennedy, director of regulation and enforcement, oversees the England Illegal Money Lending Team. She said: “We've had some fantastic ideas for this scheme which will really benefit the community, and make a difference in tackling this crime which can have such a horrendous impact.

“Everyone is welcome to have their say in how this cash can be used positively for the communities they live and work in. The England Illegal Money Lending Team are continuing to bring loan sharks to justice, and we'd encourage anyone with information on this criminal activity to report it in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 218 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to almost 140 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 19,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text 'loan shark + your message' to 60003
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

Ends

Note to editors:

Funded by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams; England, Scotland and Wales. Hosted by Birmingham City Council and working in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities up and down the country, the England Team consists of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders. The project piloted in 2004, and expanded in 2007. So far the project has secured 218 prosecutions leading to almost 140 years worth of custodial sentences.

Sarah-Jane Lynch - Communications Officer
Illegal Money Lending Team - Trading Standards

Telephone: 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119
E-mail: sarah-jayne.lynch@birmingham.gov.uk

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