CASH seized from loan sharks is once again up for grabs in the latest round of funding from the Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund.
Community organisations, charities and groups are being asked to bid for grants of up to £5,000 from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT). Collaborative bids between multiple agencies are also welcome.
Projects must raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, reduce crime and disorder and have a positive impact on communities.
The IMLT has spent over three-quarters of a million pounds (£774,000) of proceeds of crime money on crime-fighting initiatives over the last three years.
The money has been seized from convicted loan sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and used to fund good causes nationally.
Projects have included graffiti murals, art therapy sessions for vulnerable adults and drama performances in schools highlighting the dangers of dealing with loan sharks.
Widnes mural warning of loan shark dangers
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We encourage groups to come forward and apply for funding to help stamp out illegal money lenders.
“The money seized through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is reinvested back into communities through projects aimed at tackling loan sharks and supporting victims.
“We are very much aware of the devastating impact loan sharks have on families and communities and we’re determined to do all we can to eradicate them.
“Our financial investigators have continued to ensure that loan sharks don’t profit from their crimes and are not able to continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We urge anyone with information about illegal money lending to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access safe and confidential support via Live Chat on our website.”
The deadline for POCA applications is Wednesday, 30th June 2021.
For further information and to apply, visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk/poca-funding/
You can download an application form and find answers to our frequently asked questions below.
Anyone who believes they might be the victim of a loan shark can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete an online report form.
Alternatively, you can access free, safe and specialist support via Stop Loan Sharks Live Chat, available on the website 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.