A 2-day, partnership campaign is being planned in Stoke on Trent on the 20th and 21st June to raise awareness of illegal money lending and signpost victims to support outlets.
The campaign is the result of a partnership approach between the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Potteries Moneywise, and Moneyline.
During the event, officers from all three agencies will be available to speak to residents about illegal money lending, budgeting and energy advice and provide real alternatives and assistance for those struggling financially. The events will be held at Bentlee Neighbourhood Centre, Dawlish Drive on 20th June between 10 and 1pm and Affinity Shopping Centre compound building, Talke Pits between 10am and 2pm on 21st June.
The campaign’s mascot, Sid the Shark, will also make an appearance to raise awareness of the issue and provide safety information and advice.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We know that illegal money lenders operate in communities and that they exploit the most vulnerable people. The campaign aims to raise people’s awareness of the problem and let them know where to go for help and support.
“We encourage anyone who has been targeted by loan sharks or who has concerns about someone they know to please get in touch. We have helped over 30,000 people affected by this crime get their lives back through specialist support.”
Steve Brigham Chief Operations Officer from Moneyline said “Moneyline is proud to work with the England Illegal Money Lending Team who provides support to those who need it. Moneyline is a not-for-profit lender, which offers small loans to low-income households, giving access to affordable credit for those who are excluded from mainstream credit”.
Dan Pearson Service Manager from Potteries Moneywise (PMW) said “PMW is a project within Citizens Advice North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Our project specialises in offering free and confidential financial, budgeting, and energy advice to individuals. We provide a broad spectrum of support, including grant applications, benefit checks, money management and budgeting, amongst other things. We are aiming to raise awareness of Illegal money lending, educating people on what help is available and how to avoid getting bitten by a money shark”.