Cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks has been awarded to four local projects.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Doncaster Council provided the ill-gotten gains taken from illegal lenders to local communities, with nearly 200 people voting online for their favourites.
Each of the following projects received £750: Doncaster Rovers Community Foundation will use the funding to produce a five hour ‘financial awareness’ unit which will include: financial management and budgeting, legal, affordable credit options versus the dangers of loan sharks and an ICT based advertisement promoting a ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ message.
Doncaster Rugby Football Club The under 15 age group will use the funding to hold interactive sessions for the players and their parents to discuss the dangers and implications of using loan sharks. The 31 players in this age group will be invited to attend and the session will be open to invitations to all other age groups (under sevens to under 17) within the club to attend. The Stop Loan Sharks Now message with the 0300 555 2222 hotline number will be printed on the shirts for a tour in May 2014. In addition the tour brochure will carry a half page advert with a similar message.
Pioneer Social Enterprise a not for profit organisation, dedicated to combating fuel poverty, will use the funding to design and pilot interactive workshops to be delivered, in partnership with Jobcentreplus, HMP Hatfield and Women’s Aid to a range of clients who are vulnerable to iIlegal lending.
Doncaster Housing for Young People (DHYP) will use the funding to educate and inform young people in Doncaster about the dangers of illegal lending by purchasing a laptop computer that will be readily available at their office base and drop-in centres as well as out and about in the homes of the young people within Doncaster through their Outreach Service.
Doncaster Council’s Director of Regeneration and Environment Peter Dale said “Don’t be tempted to borrow money from a loan shark. If you need an affordable loan try the South Yorkshire Credit Union – visit www.sycu.co.uk or call 0303 030 0010.”
Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, Tony Quigley, said: “Through this initiative the extorted cash is being put to excellent use. Thanks to everyone who entered a bid or voted online - you have contributed to making a difference and tackling this crime in your community. Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims, but we are continuing to tackle them in Doncaster and across the country. We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222”
Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 310 prosecutions leading to 198 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £55 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims.
To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222, text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003, or firstname.lastname@example.org email.