Cash seized from loan sharks to fund community projects

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is cracking down on loan sharks across the country and stripping them of their ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) legislation.

The Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund is open again for bids from charities, voluntary organisations and community groups involved in activities that have a positive impact on their communities.

The Fund is made up of money seized from convicted loan sharks, which is made available to groups through a bidding process and grants are awarded to successful applicants.

Each group will be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 and will have to demonstrate the positive impact their project would have on their community. Applicants will also have to demonstrate how their project contributes to delivering the IMLT’s priorities which include raising awareness of the dangers of loan sharks; promoting the work of the IMLT in communities and encourage reporting of loan sharks.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Over the last two years more than £230,000 has been allocated to local community projects across England from money retrieved from loan sharks. It is only right that profits generated from illegal money lending are reinvested into initiatives that help prevent crime and protect their communities.”

The IMLT is keen to support innovative crime prevention initiatives that leave a lasting legacy for their communities.

Previous successful projects

Mural warns residents against using loan sharks in Plymouth

Citizens Advice Plymouth on Twitter: "This message on our mural ...
Citizens Advice Plymouth on Twitter: "This message on our mural ...

Photo Credit: Citizens Advice Plymouth

Citizens Advice Plymouth received funding from the IMLT and commissioned artists Jon Lilly and Harriet Russell to design and install a mural to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and signpost victims to the team for help and support.

The mural, located at the North Cross Subway, was funded by proceeds of crime seized from convicted loan sharks. It features the 24-hour helpline number to report loan sharks and signposts residents to Citizens Advice Plymouth for debt advice and support. The mural has left a lasting legacy of art to be enjoyed by Plymouth for years to come and gives people the confidence to get in touch with the IMLT to find out what support is available.

Storybook warns children about the dangers of loan sharks

Photo Credit: South Leeds Life

Leeds City Council’s Dewsbury Road Community Hub was awarded a grant by the IMLT to produce a children’s book, which was written by Sylvia Simpson, the Chief Executive of Money Buddies. Money Buddies is a scheme to support people with their personal finances and to get out of debt. They run regular sessions at Dewsbury Road community Hub.

The Money Buddies story book has helped engage many young people across Leeds and explains why they should never consider using a loan shark when they grow up. It also signposts parents to the local credit union, which offers safe saving and affordable loans options.

Cinderella gets bitten by a loan shark in unique kids’ panto

Cinderella 39 S Dilemma Panto At West View Primary

Photo Credit: Thirteen Group

The ‘Cinderella’s Dilemma’ pantos were commissioned by Housing Provider Thirteen, in partnership with the IMLT, and were performed by North East Theatre Group, Blowin’ a Hooley. The performances raised awareness of the dangers of loan sharks by using a real-life situation and presenting it in a fun and engaging way to appeal to a younger audience.

To support the pantos there was also a credit union incentive delivered for parents and staff at each of the three schools.

Applications will be considered for grants of up to a maximum of £5,000 that meet the eligibility criteria.

POCA funding will not support:

  • Staff training, presentation slides, posters and other publicity materials which can all be provided free of charge by your local IMLT LIAISE officers.
  • Repeating an existing project
  • Staff salaries, day to day running costs of your organisation or vehicle costs. We can pay for additional sessional staff costs or for current staff to deliver activities that are out of their normal remit.
  • Producing freebies, publicity merchandise or distribution costs
  • Film production
  • Office equipment including laptops
  • Plays – we will only fund plays that have a guaranteed audience of 50 people. If significantly less people attend, we will ask for some funding to be returned.
  • Food – we can fund tea and coffee for projects but not food
  • Any costs you incur whilst putting together your application.

If your project idea involves working with schools, you must have agreement and engagement from the institutes before submitting your bid.

The closing date for applications is 31st August 2020.

If you have any questions about funding, please read our FAQs page or contact us.

To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential helpline 0300 555 2222, provide information using our online form or contact us via Live Chat (available every Tuesday 9am-5pm).